A Nebraska City woman is wanted for passing counterfeit money at two different businesses in Blair, according to court documents.
An arrest warrant was issued March 27 for Maria J. Battiato, 30. She is charged with two counts of first-degree forgery, a Class 3 felony.
According to an affidavit, Blair police were dispatched to Walmart, 1882 Holly St., Feb. 9 for the report of counterfeit money that had been passed at the store. On Feb. 8, a woman had purchased prepaid cards worth $600 using 30 fake $20 bills. Surveillance video showed the woman, who was wearing a black jacket, black yoga pant and a red shirt, arrive and leave in a white SUV.
On Feb. 12, officers received a report of counterfeit bills being used at Casey's General Store, 2028 Kellie Drive. On Feb. 8, the same woman also purchased a prepaid card worth $320 at the gas station with 16 fake $20 bills.
Police identified the woman as Battiato, who was also wanted for forgery in Otoe and Sarpy counties.
Nebraska City police reported a female suspect had passed $560 in counterfeit bills, which were loaded onto a prepaid card. All bills were $20 and contained the same serial number. They also had a second report of the same woman attempting to pass two counterfeit $20 bills. But when store employees informed her they were fake, she left before police arrived.
Sarpy County had similar reports.
On March 16, Blair police learned Battiato had been arrested on outstanding warrants in Sarpy County. When a detective interviewed her, Battiato admitted it was her on surveillance footage passing the bills. However, she said she only learned they were fake after passing them in February. She referenced the incident in Nebraska City. But according to the report, that incident happened in January.
Battiato claimed she received the bills from someone else in exchange for cleaning services. She claimed the person always paid her in cash. However, officers have not been able to locate any individuals with the name Battiato provided.