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Charges dropped against former W.Va. correctional officer in counterfeiting case

January 08, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Charges against a former correctional officer accused of counterfeiting were dismissed Monday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court, but authorities said a federal or state indictment is pending against the 23-year-Martinsburg man.

Joshua Lee Beck, who was charged in August 2007 on three counts of counterfeiting and one count of conspiracy to counterfeit, did not appear before Magistrate Sandra L. Miller for his scheduled preliminary hearing.

Brian Lee Sine, 36, of Martinsburg, another former officer at Martinsburg Correctional Center, was similarly charged in August 2007 by West Virginia State Police and remained Monday at Eastern Regional Jail on $100,000 bond, according to court and jail records.

Beck was released from custody after posting bail on a $40,000 bond, records show.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Saunders said an indictment also was pending in Sine's case.

Beck and Sine, who are former roommates, were arrested shortly after they allegedly attempted to use fake $100 bills at Valley Guns II at 998 Arden-Nollville Road near Inwood, W.Va., according to court records.

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Police have said that Sine is the primary suspect in the investigation, which included the man's alleged role in what is known as a "Nigerian scam."

In his complaint, State Police Trooper J.M. Walker said that in an interview with Sine on Aug. 24, 2007, at the correctional center, that Sine indicated he had received $100,000 in wire transfers since January 2007 as part of a counterfeit money order scheme involving a "lady from Africa," according to the officer's complaint.

The counterfeit money from the scam was used Aug. 17, 2007, to pay a bill for a firearms special order, according to police and individuals familiar with the investigation.

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