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Phony Money Arrest

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HAZLETON — Police believe an arrest in Berks County may be connected to a counterfeit money ring in Luzerne County.

A woman was arrested in Hamburg with fake $100 bills similar to those being passed in the Hazleton area.

Cindy Batista, 23, of Hazleton, was arrested for buying $2,500 in money orders at a Rite Aid with allegedly counterfeit $100 bills. She faces five counts of theft by deception and one count of forgery.

In the past month, police say the fake $100 bills have been used at five businesses in Hazleton and West Hazleton.

The Secret Service has been called in to figure out where the counterfeit cash is coming from.

Police are now discouraging businesses in the Hazleton area from accepting $100 bills.