A New York City man who brought teenage girls to New England this spring for a spending spree using fake $100 bills pleaded guilty on Monday in U.S. District Court to a charge of passing counterfeit U.S. currency.

Andrew Cupidore, 21, was arrested on April 21 after a police officer patrolling the Maine Mall in South Portland first received a report from a store clerk that a girl had tried to spend what appeared to be counterfeit bill.

The officer then found the girl, who was 16, and discovered that three other girls in the mall doing the same thing. Police recovered $1,000 in fake currency.

“The evidence would show that Cupidore had provided the juveniles with these counterfeit bills and directed them to pass the counterfeit bills in the Maine Mall. Cupidore also directed the juveniles to return any change from the transactions directly to him,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Conley said in a prosecution document filed with the court last week.

Police arrested Cupidore after finding him hiding in a mall bathroom. He 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.

Police suspected that Cupidore brought the girls to spend the fake money and get real money as change, police said.

Cupidore’s sentencing date in federal court has not been set. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

The four girls, all juveniles, were taken into custody in April and brought to Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland. It is unclear what happened to them afterward.

Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at:

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Twitter: @scottddolan