AUBURN — An Auburn man pleaded guilty to two felonies in Cayuga County criminal court Tuesday for using counterfeit U.S. currency.
Mathew Danforth, of 131 E. Genesee St., was initially charged with two counts of first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, two counts of first-degree falsifying business records, one count of petit larceny and one count of fifth-degree conspiracy for using fake cash on at least two occasions in April. However, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann allowed the 26-year-old to plead guilty to the two counts of possessing a forged instrument — class C felonies — to satisfy the other charges.
In July, Danforth was arrested along with 39-year-old transient Nathan Nolan for conducting a counterfeit currency scheme in the county. At the time, Auburn police said a third suspect in the scheme was still at large.
During his plea Tuesday, Danforth said he passed around $300 in fake cash at Wal-Mart on Grant Avenue on April 1 and April 4, 2016.
"I had counterfeit money and took it to Wal-Mart," he told Judge Mark Fandrich. "I tried to get it to pass through. It passed through and that was it."
In exchange for Danforth's plea, Fandrich agreed to sentence him to five years probation and six months in jail. Still, since Danforth has been in Cayuga County Jail since his arrest July 5, he was released on his own recognizance and given credit for time served.
Danforth is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 7. If he fails to show up at sentencing or gets into any further trouble, he could face a maximum of five to 15 years in prison on each count.
Also in court:
• A Weedsport man has admitted to illegally entering a building in the town of Genoa and stealing property.
Matthew Derby, 34, of 8742 Centerport Road, pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary Tuesday, explaining how he entered the building April 6 to commit larceny.
"I went there with a friend knowing the place was empty," he said. "I took some things knowing it was wrong."
A second felony offender — convicted of felony aggravated family offense in 2014 — Derby could face a maximum of 3 1/2 to seven years in prison. However, Fandrich has agreed to sentence Derby to two to four years in prison on Feb. 7. He will also recommend Derby serve his time at the Willard Drug Treatment Center in Seneca County and be placed on parole supervision.
• An Auburn teen pleaded guilty to his second felony offense Tuesday for violating an order of protection.
Darien Frazier, 18, of 36 Franklin St., admitted to first-degree criminal contempt for visiting the victim's home on Baker Avenue in October. According to Budelmann, it was the second time this year that Frazier violated the order of protection.
Although Frazier faces a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison, Fandrich agreed to sentence him to five years probation with either credit for time served or an additional month of weekends in jail. In addition, Frazier will have to successfully complete drug treatment court.
Frazier has been in Cayuga County Jail for approximately six weeks. He was released on his own recognizance pending sentencing Feb. 7.
• A Cato man with a history of drunk driving was sentenced before Judge Thomas Leone for driving while ability impaired by drugs.
Raymond Hutchinson, of 11574 State Route 34, pleaded guilty to two felonies in October, including third-offense DWAI and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
According to Cayuga County Assistant District Attorney Diane Adsit, the 31-year-old had two prior convictions for driving while intoxicated: one from 2006 and another from 2013.
Hutchinson was sentenced to five years probation plus two months of weekend work release at the Cayuga County Jail. He will also have his license revoked for at least 12 months and will have to pay $3,000 in fines.