WILMINGTON -- Federal agents are stepping in to handle the case of a man arrested over the weekend for using counterfeit money. US Secret Service agents say they're preparing to take over the case and say the man accused could face some stiff penalties. Antonio Lentini, 32, is facing a slew of charges including forgery and fraud. The charges stem from a counterfeit cash scam. Wilmington Police say Lentini bleached dozens of $5 bills, then reprinted them as hundreds. He used the fake money at several businesses in the area. US Secret Service agent David Robey says the federal government will soon take over the case. Robey says Lentini's workmanship isn't seen very often -- the bills looked authentic. Robey said, "Those bills account for probably about one percent of all the counterfeit bills we see. The most common form of counterfeiting nowadays is with your three-in-one color inkjet printer." Some of the downtown business owners that we spoke with today that got duped by this counterfeit cash say they use counterfeit detection pens on the money. But Secret Service agents say these don't always work. So, they use other detection tests like the blacklight test. Robey says flaws on counterfeit cash can be easily detected in the right light. For Lentini, two different presidents on the same bill gave him away. Now he could face some hefty jail time. "For a violation of federal law in these cases, if you manufacture, it could be a maximum of 15 years in prison," Robey said. Lentini is being held in the New Hanover County jail under a $5,000 secured bond. In addition to forgery and obtaining property by false pretenses charges we're told he could also face federal charges for using an alias.
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