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Towards the end of April, 2018, a YCSO detective followed up on a prior investigation involving several incidents of counterfeit US Currency being passed at businesses in the Verde Valley. Based on his knowledge of a suspect who had been identified in a 2017 Cornville counterfeit currency case, the detective determined the suspect was likely responsible for multiple reported incidents in recent months around the Verde Valley. The suspect was identified as 38-year-old Stara Brummett from Cornville. Her description matched the suspect information provided by victims in the reports. Additionally, several businesses reported the receipt of counterfeit currency only after being notified by bank employees that counterfeit bills had been found in weekly deposits.
After a review of area incidents, Brummett was identified as the primary suspect in the following reports:
- August 29, 2017 – Brummett attempts to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at the Family Dollar store in Cornville.
- February 6, 2018 – Brummett successfully passes a counterfeit $50 at a business in Cottonwood. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Cottonwood Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
- February 12, 2018 – Brummett successfully passes a counterfeit $50 bill at a thrift store in the Village of Oak Creek. It appeared she has ‘washed’ a $5 bill and then produced a printed $50 counterfeit.
- February 18, 2018 – Brummett attempts to pass counterfeit $50 and $100 bills at a Cottonwood garage sale.
- March 26, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 bill at a boutique store in Cottonwood. The prior week, she attempted to pass a counterfeit $50 at the same business. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Cottonwood Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
- March 28, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 at a market in Cornville.
- April 15, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $100 at a Sedona area business. YCSO takes this case on behalf of the Sedona Police Department to consolidate prosecution.
- April 28, 2018 – Brummett successfully passed a counterfeit $50 at a garage sale in Cornville.
In almost every case, Brummett would suggest to employees that they use their security marking pen to verify the authenticity of the currency. Since these bills had been ‘washed’ and reprinted in higher denominations on authentic US treasury paper, the pen would not detect counterfeiting. Note- This is why it is important to check other security features before accepting questionable currency.
The goal of Brummett in every instance was to pass the counterfeit currency and receive authentic currency as change.
Based on the facts of the case to date, the YCSO detective was able to obtain a search warrant for Brummett’s home in the 2500 block of Kadamoto Drive in Cornville. On May 3, 2018, the search warrant was served. Brummett was home alone with her Terrier dog when the detectives arrived. Brummett and her dog had been described by at least one victim when interviewed.
Brummett initially denied remembering anything until a case by case review of the evidence by the lead detective caused her to acknowledge participation in the crimes. In some cases, she continued to claim not realizing the bills were counterfeit even after detectives found an active counterfeiting operation in her home.
During the search, detectives seized several inkjet printers and numerous chemicals used to wash US currency. Detectives also found a large of amount of counterfeit bills in $20, $50, and $100 denominations. Some of the bills were in the process of counterfeiting. Detectives also located some the property Brummett bought at a garage sale with counterfeit money. It appeared Brummett used almost every room for some aspect of the counterfeiting operation. See attached photos from inside the home.
Inside Brummett’s purse, detectives found 4 grams of methamphetamine and associated paraphernalia.
Brummett was booked at the detention center in Camp Verde on numerous charges including Possess Forgery Equipment, Falsely make Written Instrument, Fraudulent Schemes, Theft, Offer Forged Instrument, and Possession of Dangerous Drugs. She remains in-custody on a $25,000 bond.
This investigation remains active as to additional victims and suspects.
Information on detecting counterfeit currency is found here: https://www.uscurrency.gov/.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260
or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov
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