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Police Arrest Two In Unalaska For Phony Money

Zoe Sobel/KUCB

Police in Unalaska have arrested and charged two men accused of making counterfeit money. Over the weekend, Henry Zablan and Nicholas Hough were taken into police custody and later charged with fraud.

Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley said that in her 16 years with the department, this isn't the first case of counterfeit money found in Unalaska.

"Typically nobody has any idea of where it came from," said Shockley. "You know, somebody paid for something, the counterfeit bill got into circulation, somebody who's familiar with checking security stuff recognizes it as counterfeit, and then we get told about it."

Shockley said the police normally don't have more information than that. They'll send the counterfeit bills to the secret service, and that's it. But this time is different.

"Actually finding people and finding equipment being used for counterfeiting money right here in town is unusual for us," she said.

Officers were tipped off about the alleged counterfeiting operation while investigating a burglary and theft.

Police found counterfeiting supplies as well as forged U.S. currency at Zablan's residence. Shockley said the equipment police found is commonly available.

In a statement to police, Zablan said he has been photocopying money for one to two months. He said he's been "practicing and getting better," but it's just for fun. He also said Hough has given him tips on making more accurate counterfeits more easily.

The investigation is still open. Shockley said there's at least one more person of interest in the case.

If any Unalaskans have counterfeit money in their possession, she encouraged them to bring it to the police station, especially if they know where it came from.

Zoë Sobel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2019. She returned to KUCB after a year living in Nepal and Malaysia as a Luce Scholar. She then returned to KUCB as a ProPublica reporter August of 2020 through August of 2021.