| Crime |

Convicted Counterfeiter Finds Habits Are Hard to Break, Arrested Again for Passing Fakes

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Damon McClendon has been in this spot before. For the second time in less than five years, the North Texas man was arrested for spending counterfeit U.S. currency.

The first time around, in 2008 and 2009, McClendon was a participant in a ring that created non-legal tender created using an electronic template. McClendon, along with Aaron Orona and Gerald Omasanjuwa, exchanged at least $105,000 in phony bills to department and big box stores throughout North Texas. McClendon took a plea and was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and 36 months of supervised release.

Yesterday, he was arrested again.

According to the Secret Service's Dallas field office, the agency was notified by Walmart investigators on July 2 that an unknown man had, over the course of seven transactions between June 27 and June 29, loaded $5,100 worth of fake bills onto prepaid debit cards at one of the retailer's Irving locations. Each of the transactions was carried out by the same cashier and all seven were captured on video.

Two Secret Service agents talked to the cashier. She told them she didn't know the name of the man suspected of using the bills, but that she had his phone number. She gave the phone number to the agents, who say that they recognized the number immediately as McClendon's because they had received the same phone number from a Dallas Target cashier on June 30. The Walmart cashier then identified McClendon from a photo.

The cashier, who agreed to cooperate with the agents, sent McClendon a text message urging him to come to the Walmart. When he did, he was arrested by the agents, who found an additional $3,000 worth of counterfeit bills on him.

The agents say McClendon, after agreeing to answer questions, admitted passing both the Walmart and Target bills.

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