I think it was not only to get merchandise, but to get some change as well. We're notifying the Utah Division of Child and Family Services so they're aware. —Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez
OREM — Two men were arrested after they sent children to make purchases for them using fake $50 bills, police said.
The children's father, Abel Uribe, 31, of Spanish Fork, along with their uncle, Jose Ayala, 20, of Pleasant Grove, were booked into the Utah County Jail on Jan. 18 for investigation of possession of a forged writing.
Police are also investigating the children's mother, Leticia Aguirre, 30, of Orem, who was released with the two children because she had an infant with her.
The 12- and 13-year-old children attempted to pass the bills in three stores at University Mall, 575 E. University Parkway, and were accompanied by one of the parents in each case, according to Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez.
One of the store cashiers told the children that the bill was counterfeit and asked for another form of payment. The children then left the store with their mother and were later detained by mall security.
The children did not know the bills were counterfeit, Martinez said.
"I think it was not only to get merchandise, but to get some change as well," Martinez said. "We're notifying the Utah Division of Child and Family Services so they're aware."
Martinez said the money was easily identified as fake by three retailers, though police have not been able to determine how the three bills were made.
"We always check the serial number to see if it has been used somewhere else, and it hasn't in this case," he said.
A search of court records showed that Ayala pleaded guilty in 2011 to attempted burglary, a third-degree felony, and theft, a class A misdemeanor. Aguirre pleaded no contest to class A misdemeanor theft in the same year.
Since 2001, Uribe has faced a felony charge for possession or use of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor charges of possession with intent to distribute drug paraphernalia, burglary of a vehicle, criminal mischief, manufacture or possession of burglary tools, theft, and simple assault.