One of four men accused of counterfeiting motor-vehicle inspection stickers and selling them in the Biddeford area began serving his sentence this week.

Shane Jones, 23, reported to the York County jail Monday. Jones had pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated forgery last month and was sentenced to two years with all but 60 days suspended. He will also have to serve two years of probation and pay a $300 fine.

Jones and three other men were arrested in May in connection with printing and selling the phony stickers. Police said they identified a fifth suspect, but did not have enough evidence to charge him.

Biddeford police believe the group was responsible for a rash of counterfeit inspection stickers that officers started noticing earlier this year. Police have found about 150 vehicles with fake stickers, some as recently as Christmas weekend, in and around Biddeford.

“We’ve definitely slowed it down,” said Deputy Chief JoAnne Fisk. “What’s happening now, the only thing is the residual.”

The cases of the other three men are also heading toward resolution.

Christopher Perry, 34, of Biddeford, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated forgery in an agreement that led to the dismissal of three counts of the same charge last month. He was handed a two-year sentence, with all but 45 days suspended, and two years of probation. He begins serving his time Jan. 15.

Forrest Mills, 55, of Biddeford, and Richard Andrews, 40, of Arundel, are both scheduled to appear in York County Superior Court on Jan. 12. Andrews is expected to plead guilty.

It appears the group was making bogus stickers for 18 months to two years, according to Police Chief Roger Beaupre. One giveaway was that the fake stickers faded more rapidly than the real ones, he said.

It’s not clear how many of the stickers were circulated, Beaupre said. The men sold the stickers for up to $100 each, a fraction of the cost of a significant repair.

Biddeford police started noticing the fake stickers around March. They had issued 30 citations for displaying a fictitious inspection sticker, a misdemeanor, by the end of April.

Police became more skilled at identifying the fakes, and one officer was assigned to follow up on the ones they discovered. Those efforts led to the search of a Saco home, the seizure of computer and printing equipment, and the arrests of the four men.

Beaupre hopes authorities learn more about the operation from the defendants.

“There’s information for us to use which could become instrumental in determining how many (fake stickers) were out there, how many we have to worry about,” he said.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at [email protected]

 


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