A 21-year-old New York City man accused of bringing teenage girls to New England to pass counterfeit $100 bills pleaded not guilty Friday.
Andrew Cupidore, 21, was ordered temporarily detained by Magistrate Judge John Rich III during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Portland pending a detention hearing next week.
Cupidore has been in custody at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland since his arrest at the Maine Mall in South Portland on April 21, when police found him hiding in a bathroom.
A store clerk at the mall told police that a girl had tried to spend what appeared to be a fake $100 bill. The officer found the girl, who was 16, then found three other girls in the mall doing the same thing. Police recovered $1,000 in fake currency.
Police suspected that Cupidore brought the girls to spend the fake money and get real money as change. He was charged initially with the state crime of aggravated forgery and held on $25,000 cash bail.
While the state charge was pending, the U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained an indictment June 3 against him on a charge of trying to pass counterfeit money.
Although Cupidore still faces the state charge, the federal charge carries a more severe penalty – up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The state case is next scheduled to be heard at the Cumberland County Courthouse on July 8.
The four girls, all juveniles, were taken into custody in April and brought to Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.
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