Grandmother Was Alleged Ringleader In Family’s Counterfeit Money Operation

LAGUNA BEACH (CBS) — A woman allegedly reeled two of her children and a 16-year-old grandson into a counterfeit moneymaking scheme in Laguna Beach, authorities reported.

All four were arrested after a gas station employee reported receiving a suspicious looking bill from two men. When he confronted them about the cash they fled and the employee called in their license plate to police, Laguna Beach police Lt. Jason Kravetz said.

Authorities arrested Rose Mojica, 63, and her children, 33-year-old Tania Santoya and 33-year-old Roberto Jose Rodriguez, all residents of Santa Ana. Mojica’s 16-year-old grandson was also arrested and transferred to Juvenile Hall, Kravetz said.The adults were booked into the Laguna Beach jail on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of fraudulent items and counterfeiting.

Mojica and Rodriguez appear to be in the country illegally, Kravetz said.

The group would allegedly have the teen go to small family-owned business and pass small denominations of the fake currency so as to not draw attention, according to police.

“It was pretty real looking,” Kravetz said. “They made it with a high-quality printer and they printed it on a newspaper-type paper that made it look old.”

Investigators seized a computer, printer, paper and more counterfeit money at the suspects’ home, Kravetz said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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