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8/18/2010 2:00:00 PM
Police Arrest Five In Far-Reaching Forgery Investigation
Franklin Arbour
Franklin Arbour
By J.W. Oliver

Police have arrested four local men and a Palermo man on charges of aggravated forgery, a class B felony, and anticipate further charges in the ongoing investigation.

Frank Arbour, Jr., 34, of Palermo, Daroyl Wilson, 20, of Jefferson, Nathan Brewer, 21, of Nobleboro, Thomas Hourihan, 21, and John Hourihan, 20, both of Damariscotta, face charges in the case.

According to staff at Two Bridges Regional Jail, Thomas Hourihan and John Hourihan posted bail and were released Aug. 6. Wilson, Brewer and Arbour remain at the jail.

Agencies including the Maine State Police, the Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, Kennebec and Androscoggin County Sheriffs' offices, and the Damariscotta, Thomaston, Bath, Augusta and Lewiston police departments have all contributed to the cooperative investigation.

According to Damariscotta Police Chief Steve Drake, police suspect the group of possessing about $5000 in $20 and $50 bills and cashing over $4500 in counterfeit payroll checks.

"We think we've got most of [the bills]," Drake said. Businesses turned in some bills, Drake said. According to an affidavit from Drake, filed Aug. 11 for a search warrant request, Wilson burned other bills.

In an Aug. 17 phone interview with The Lincoln County News, Drake called the investigation an "excellent example of police cooperation and coordination."

"Everyone did their part," Drake said.

According to Drake's affidavit, filed with the Sixth District Court in Wiscasset Aug. 12, Wilson, Brewer, Thomas Hourihan and John Hourihan allegedly passed the bills at area businesses, including Puffin Stop in Damariscotta, Damariscotta Lake Farm in Jefferson, the Thomaston Pik-Qwik, Burger King and Dunkin' Donuts franchises in Bath and Lisbon, convenience stores in the Lewiston area and others,

Often working in groups of two or three, the men allegedly purchased small items, including gum, cigarettes and small amounts of gas, with the $20 and $50 bills and split the legitimate currency they received as change.

According to Drake's affidavit, on Aug. 2, Wilson told Drake he found approximately $2000 in counterfeit bills in an abandoned truck near his Jefferson home. Two days later, Wilson allegedly admitted he printed the money, but said he threw the printer he used into a quarry near Rt. 17 in Union.

Finally, on Aug. 6, after the discovery of the forged checks, Wilson allegedly admitted to possessing about $5000 in counterfeit bills and told Drake about his relationship with Arbour, Drake's affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, Wilson told Drake that Arbour taught Wilson how to make the bills. Wilson also linked Arbour to the forged checks, told Drake that he returned the printer to Arbour and directed police to Arbour's Palermo residence.

Knox County Sheriff's Deputy John Palmer searched Arbour's residence on Aug. 9. According to an inventory list from the search, Palmer seized two laptops and a desktop computer, two flash drives, four cell phones, a camcorder, a copy of the 2009 biography "The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter," checks, receipts, bank statements and other papers.

Arbour was on probation for federal charges related to cocaine and weapons violations, Drake said. Drake did not have complete information on the charges at the time.

Of the five men, only Wilson and Arbour currently appear to be linked to the check forgeries, according to Drake's affidavit.

According to Palmer's report, nine checks totaling $4627.48 were cashed using the account numbers of Rt. 17 Auto Sales in Washington.

Wilson's name and the names of two other men, Robert Grotton and David Schultz, appear on the fraudulent payroll checks. Central Maine Auto Wholesalers appears as the business name on those checks in place of Rt. 17 Auto Sales.

Wilson and Grotton's names appear on two of the checks. Schultz's name appears on the other seven. Arbour's name does not appear on any checks, but Donna Jackson, the co-owner of Rt. 17 Auto Sales, wrote in a statement that an anonymous source told her Arbour, in a drug counseling session, bragged about owning the computer on which the checks were made.

Police have been unable to locate or determine the involvement of Grotton and Schultz.

As police continue to gather and organize evidence, the coming weeks will see "a lot more charges on the same individuals," Drake said, and police will "probably" arrest more individuals.

Already, on Aug. 11, the Damariscotta Police Department summonsed Dustin Malmstrom, 22, of Spruce Head and Larry Keating, 41, of Waldoboro on related forgery charges.

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