Brian William Denson, 49, was being held at the Minnehaha County Jail last month for nonpayment of child support. At Denson's request, his 29-year-old girlfriend, Jamie Ann Moore, reportedly brought 27 counterfeit money orders to the Department of Social Services office in Sioux Falls to pay off Denson's bill, according to court documents.
Later that day, she used two other counterfeit money orders to pay the child support of Denson's friend Jonathan DeBelts, who also was being held for nonpayment of child support.
Sioux Falls Police got a call about the forgeries from the Department of Social Services in Pierre on July 7, police spokesman Sam Clemens said.
"That's pretty rare," he said. "We do run into the fake money orders, but it's usually some kind of scam."
The Department of Social Services declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, but spokeswoman Tarah Jahnig did say that this was the only case of child support fraud in recent memory involving forged money orders.
"It's usually just bad checks," she said.
After the Pierre office told police about the money orders, Moore was put in a lineup for two Sioux Falls DSS employees. They identified Moore as the person who brought in the forged money orders, and police obtained a search warrant for the couple's Baltic home.
That search turned up computers, printers, scanners and seven other $950 counterfeit money orders.
Denson told police that he wasn't aware the money orders were fake until after he was released from jail.
Moore was charged with 10 counts of forgery and Denson was charged with 10 counts of aiding and abetting forgery.
They each face up to five years in prison on each count.