Published: Dec 01, 2011 5:18 PM EST
Updated: Dec 01, 2011 6:24 PM EST

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla.- Two brothers engaged in a counterfeiting money operation have been arrested. Their operation was brought to an abrupt end during a traffic stop on I-75 in North Fort Myers.

On Wednesday, at approximately 2:15 p.m., a detective with the Lee County Sheriff's Office Highway Interdiction Unit conducted a traffic stop on a 2008 Chevrolet Impala near mile marker 147 in North Fort Myers for traveling too closely. The detective had observed the Impala traveling approximately ½ car length behind another vehicle at 65 mph for about ½ mile.

A records check revealed the driver, Paul Christopher Hackney, 39, was driving on a revoked driver’s license and had an extensive criminal history for money counterfeiting, economic crimes, and drug related charges. He was recently released from prison in July of 2011.

A search of the vehicle revealed many items commonly used to counterfeit US currency. A total of three high quality counterfeit $50.00 bills were recovered from inside the vehicle. Additional receipts from newly purchased items inside the car led Detectives to numerous area stores where the duo had been defrauding retailers with the counterfeit currency. It was also determined the subjects would then conduct returns of the fraudulently purchased property at the next store that they visited. A total of 17 counterfeit $50.00 bills were recovered, and it is anticipated more counterfeit bills will be recovered as detectives continue the investigation. A high quality printer, paper cut to the size of US Currency, and chemicals used to complete the process were also recovered. The United States Secret Service responded to the scene of the traffic stop and will be assuming the investigation. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit assisted as well.

Detectives are asking local retailers who have received a counterfeit $50.00 bill or any other counterfeit currency to contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit at 239-258-3241 or 239-258-3259.

Further investigation revealed the driver and passenger Shawn Preston Hackney, 33, were traveling the I-75 corridor from Naples to Lakeland, Florida with the sole intention of producing and passing counterfeit US Currency. They have been charged as follows:

Paul Christopher Hackney of 4436 Edgewater Drive in Orlando, Florida:

Possession of a counterfeit bill or bank note (11 counts)
Possession of forgery / counterfeiting tools
Grand theft 300 dollars to 5000 dollars
Possession of 10 or more counterfeit bills
Driving while license revoked 3rd or subsequent offense

Shawn Preston Hackney of 2025 Sylvester Rd Unit M3 in Lakeland, Florida:

Possession of a counterfeit bill or bank note (11 counts)
Possession of forgery / counterfeiting tools
Grand theft 300 dollars to 5000 dollars
Possession of 10 or more counterfeit bills