Counterfeiter in big trouble |

Counterfeiter in big trouble

Christina Proctor

A Butte College student, who was sentenced last week for passing bogus $100 bills at Caesars Tahoe, is still facing trouble in California.

Paul James Kempel, 25, was only at his summer job in South Lake Tahoe for a couple of days before his May 26 arrest at the casino, investigators said. The college student was working for a T-shirt shop.

A search warrant served the next day at his apartment, located above the T-shirt shop on the 4000 block of U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe, allegedly uncovered $8,700 worth of the counterfeit bills.

At a preliminary hearing Thursday, El Dorado County Judge Jerald Lasarow found there was sufficient evidence for Kempel to face felony charges in California as well. He is charged with two felonies, possession of a forged instrument and possession of counterfeit bills. A trial date was set for Oct. 19.

Kempel is also under investigation by the Secret Service for $40,000 worth of counterfeit $100 bills passed in four states since February. All the bills have the same serial number AL92415558C, investigators said.

On Thursday, Special Agent James Deal testified that during the service of the search warrant he found the alleged counterfeit bills in a shaving kit in the bathroom of the apartment along with Kempel’s passport. Deal told the court the bills were what investigators called P-notes, and were made on a computer. Deal said the bills were manufactured by using two thin pieces of paper glued together, and all bore the same serial number as the bills recovered at Caesars.

South Lake Tahoe Police Detective Brian Williams testified that according to the manager of the building Kempel was the sole occupant of the apartment.

On July 21, Kempel was sentenced in Douglas County District Court to three years’ probation and ordered to pay $318 in restitution. His sentence of 32 months in a Nevada State prison was suspended. Kempel was surrendered to El Dorado County right after his sentencing.

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