A Bethlehem woman is charged with using counterfeit $100 bills at three Palmer Park Mall stores, but her ultimate aim was to get “real” money to pay off her drug dealer and get more drugs, court records say.
Denny Kesack, 31, is also facing charges in two other municipalities: She is accused of recently passing a counterfeit $100 bill at the Promenade Shops in Upper Saucon Township, and was arraigned earlier this week in Bethlehem on drug-related charges, court records say.
In the Palmer case, Kesack is accused of using the fake $100 bills for small purchases to accumulate the maximum amount of change—the “real” money. She used that money to buy drugs, she told police.
Police discovered the fake $100s were actually $5 bills doctored to look like the higher amount.
The mall stores involved were the Hallmark Store, Bath & Body Works and Boscov’s.
Kesack’s case is the second one involving counterfeit money at Palmer Park Mall in recent weeks. On Jan. 15, Tonya Green, 44, of Lehigh Township was charged with using two fake $20 bills for purchases at a mall store and may have been carrying another 68 counterfeit $20s.
In Kesack’s case, a criminal complaint filed by Palmer Det. Thomas Vogel explains that police were dispatched to the Hallmark Store on the afternoon of Jan. 24. A store employee said a woman later identified as Kesack used a $100 bill for a $9.95 purchase.
The employee said the woman had reddish-brown, shoulder-length hair and was wearing a pink shirt.
Employees used a counterfeit marker on the bill and it came back as authentic. But when they double-checked later, they found the bill was counterfeit.
Not long after the Hallmark incident, a township officer found something similar had happened at Bath & Body Works. A woman made a $13.78 purchase with a $100 bill. After she left, employees discovered the bill was fake.
Around the same time, yet another officer responded to Boscov’s for a counterfeit report. This time the purchase was for $11.04. Also this time, Boscov’s had surveillance photos and video of the woman.
Vogel discovered the fake $100s were actually $5 bills. Holding the bills up to a light, the strip inside the bills read “5usa,” meaning they are $5 bills. The bills from Hallmark and Bath & Body Works had identical ID numbers—something legitimate bills never have.
The break in the Palmer case came Jan. 29, when Vogel learned that Upper Saucon police had Kesack in custody for allegedly passing a counterfeit $100 bill at the Promenade Shops. He obtained a photo of Kesack and it matched the woman in Boscov’s surveillance.
Vogel then spoke to Upper Saucon Det. Thomas Nicoletti, who said he asked Kesack about the Palmer case. She said she “was given” the counterfeit money to buy things so that she could get “real” money to give “to her drug dealer” in exchange for drugs.
When Nicoletti and Vogel visited her in a holding cell, she said she was high on heroin during the Palmer incidents and didn’t remember how many stores she went into.
In the Palmer case, Kesack was charged with three counts each of forgery, theft by deception and receiving stolen property, and one count of possessing an instrument of crime.
Kesack, of 602 Ontario St., was arraigned Thursday by District Judge Joseph Barner of Lower Nazareth Township. Bail was set at $1,000.