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Thursday
Jun132013

NY Man Allegedly Nabbed with 1,372 Fake Money Orders Worth $1M

Comstock/Thinkstock(CLARKSTOWN, N.Y.) -- A New York man is facing a possible 20 years in prison after being arrested for allegedly possessing more than $1 million in fake money orders appearing to be from the U.S. Postal Service and pharmacy chain CVS.

Police in Clarkstown, N.Y., said they made the discovery after pulling over Shae Stevenson, 23, in his SUV for a minor traffic violation. They told him his car was being impounded for driving with a suspended license, the New York Daily News reported.

Police said they became suspicious when Stevenson tried to quickly zip up and remove a duffel bag from the vehicle before it could be impounded. A search of the bag allegedly revealed 497 fraudulent U.S. Postal Service money orders and 875 CVS MoneyGrams: 1,372 in total, police said.

The Clarkstown Police Department declined to issue any additional information.

Stevenson was arraigned Wednesday and released on $5,000 bail. He did not enter a plea and has an upcoming court appearance scheduled for Aug. 7, according to the Clarkstown Justice Court.

Stevenson's attorney, Kevin Faga, told ABC News his client would not be commenting on the case.

"He is not making any comments," Fagan said. "This isn't a simple one-count case. When you have a 1,300-count case, it's a substantial matter and we have a lot of investigation to do."

"The search and seizure appears questionable, and we definitely have to examine the propriety of the search. Shae is a good kid, his family is behind him and that's all I can really say," he added.

When contacted at the Stevenson residence in Nyack, N.Y., a woman who answered the phone told ABC News the family would not be commenting on the matter. "He wouldn't have a comment, we don't have a comment," she said.

Stevenson was charged with felony possession of forged instruments for each fake money order discovered in the duffel bag, according to the Clarkstown Justice Court.

In a common money order swindle, a seller is sent the fake money order exceeding the cost of the item he or she purchased. The buyer then asks the seller to keep the money covering the cost of the purchase and ship back the balance in cash, often to an overseas location.

Fraudulent money orders can also mistakenly be cashed by unsuspecting banks.

"Any fraudulent money orders, if you take it to a bank, they might not know," Donna Harris, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, told ABC News.

"Only when it doesn't clear do they find out it was actually fraudulent," she said.

Harris added, however, that U.S. Postal Service money orders have sophisticated security measures in place to guard against potential forgery.

CVS has not responded to a request for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio