WINDSOR (CBS SF) — Windsor police and Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Tuesday morning on suspicion of passing counterfeit $100 bills at Sonoma County wineries, a sheriff’s sergeant said.
The suspect, Timothy Jon Silva, 52, was convicted in 2012 of scamming more that $11,000 from 13 elderly Petaluma residents for unfinished work on their homes after his contractor’s license expired.
A winery in the Dry Creek area notified the sheriff’s office around 11:30 a.m. today that a man tried to pass one of the counterfeit bills, Sgt. Cecile Focha said.
A winery employee didn’t take the bill and called 911. The man drove away but the winery staff gave an excellent description of the suspect and his vehicle, Focha said.
The sheriff’s office had received other calls recently from local wineries and businesses about attempts to pass fake bills, and Windsor police officers and sheriff’s deputies went to other wineries to see if the suspect had been there this morning, Focha said.
They learned the suspect had been to four other businesses this morning, some of which were unaware the bills were counterfeit and accepted them, Focha said.
When the suspect, Silva, a transient, was found in his truck at a winery, he had four counterfeit $100 bills and heroin, Focha said.
Silva was on probation following his conviction on Aug. 27 for possessing and passing counterfeit $100 bills, Focha said.
He was booked on no-bail status in the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of counterfeiting, drug possession and a violation of probation. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Sonoma County Superior Court, Focha said.
The sheriff’s office is investigating other recent reports from businesses about passing counterfeit currency, Focha said. Anyone with information about the counterfeiting is asked to call the sheriff’s office’s tip line at (707) 565-2185.
In January 2012, Silva pleaded guilty in Sonoma County Superior Court to felony diversion of funds, misdemeanor elder financial abuse and misdemeanor contracting without a license between June 2011 and January 3, 2012 when he was arrested.
Eleven of the victims lived in the Leisure Lake Mobile Home Village off Stony Point Road, and two lived in Rohnert Park.
As part of Silva’s plea agreement, he was to be sentenced to a year in the county jail and three years probation. He also was ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
Silva failed to show up at his March 14, 2012 sentencing, but he was arrested and sentenced in April 2012, to a year in the county jail, five years probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution and attend a residential treatment program.
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