Valerie Demarco sentenced to 10 years in forgery scheme | VailDaily.com

Valerie Demarco sentenced to 10 years in forgery scheme

Editor's note: A story published in September about Valerie DeMarco incorrectly stated that she had been sentenced at that time. She pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced Nov. 14.

EAGLE — Valerie DeMarco will spend 10 years in prison for her part in a counterfeiting scheme.

DeMarco and Jebez Parker counterfeited U.S. currency and passed it off to retailers on a circle tour between Colorado Springs and Glenwood Springs.

She and Parker landed in the Eagle County jail because some of the retailers where they used counterfeit bills were in Avon.

For that, and because it's not her first criminal offense, DeMarco was sentenced to 10 years in prison by District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman.

Parker was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison.

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She apologized to the court for the decisions she has made and said she is trying to turn her life around. She takes responsibility for her actions, her attorney Terrence O'Connor said.

"Her life seemed normal, then went off the rails … way off the rails in her case," prosecutors said during DeMarco's sentencing hearing.

She'll spend up to 10 years in prison — two five-year sentences to be served consecutively.

Prosecutors said DeMarco has open cases in six other Colorado counties stemming from the enterprise with Parker.

"Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime but causes businesses to lose money. Those losses might cause a business to close, but somebody has to foot the bill," said Bruce Brown, Fifth Judicial District attorney.

Finding funny money

Police say that in counterfeiting operations, real money is bleached with household chemicals, such as oven cleaner, to remove the ink. A new denomination is then printed on the paper, so a $5 bill can become a $50 bill. Money counterfeited by that method can be tough to detect because markers used to detect fake money sometimes don't pick up on the fakes, since the paper is authentic, police said.

Prosecutors say Parker was staying in a Glenwood Springs motel when police there found various denominations of bills hanging to dry in his motel room, according to police.

Parker protested, saying that he had no idea the counterfeit bills were hanging in his room.

During one of his earlier court appearances, Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum trotted out arrest warrants from Nebraska, Idaho, Indiana, Garfield County and Avon.

Counterfeiting costs

Brown said that by several estimates, counterfeit currency costs U.S. businesses some $250 billion annually and nearly 750,000 jobs.

"Because of those grim statistics and their impact on the economy, the District Attorney's office will prosecute these crimes to the full extent of the law. Because of our access to I-70, a national thoroughfare, it is not unusual for our district to suffer losses connected to counterfeiting," Brown said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.