BY JULIE MANGANIS STAFF WRITER
The Salem News
---- — A Lynn man’s efforts to make money — literally — have landed him behind bars on counterfeiting charges, police say.
Jason Papagikas, 37, allegedly used a laptop and printer to start his own mint, a scheme that generated at least $800 in counterfeit bills before his arrest Thursday night at a Middleton motel.
The sharp-eyed clerk at the Candlelite Motor Inn on Route 114 immediately suspected that the five $20 bills Papagikas used to pay for his room in the “Apple Cottage” were fake, and told police that employees had found other suspicious-looking $20 bills on the ground outside the door earlier in the day.
Confronted in his room by police from Middleton and North Andover, Papagikas told the officers there was “no way” the money was fake, and instead insisted that the bills came from an ATM inside a nearby convenience store, according to a police report.
Did he have a receipt? Papagikas insisted he did, but it was in the center console of his car. Could they take a look in the car? Or in the two bags they noticed on the floor of the motel room?
He said no, telling the officers that “his lawyer always told him not to have the cops look into his things,” according to the report.
Papagikas has a “lengthy” record of violence and property crimes and currently has 10 other pending cases, including charges in Salem that he went into a former girlfriend’s home and assaulted her last February, according to the police report and court files.
Police arrested Papagikas on a charge of passing a counterfeit bill, the first of what would eventually be five charges brought against him. He’s also charged with two counts of possessing counterfeit notes, possessing counterfeiting equipment, and forgery.
As he was being led through the Middleton police station to be booked, officers noticed that $20 bills kept falling out of the bottom of his pants leg. Police eventually collected about $700 in fake money from the floor of the station.
Papagikas told officers he had “no idea” where all that money came from, according to the Middleton police report.
Meanwhile, they also conducted a search of the bags and the car after getting a warrant. In one bag they found a Kodak printer and in the other, a Gateway laptop computer and sheets of paper with $20 bills printed on them.
They did not find an ATM receipt.
During his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court, his privately hired attorney, Neil Hourihan, urged a judge to delay the proceedings because of concerns over his client’s emotional state. Judge Robert Brennan agreed to wait until Papagikas is evaluated by a court psychologist, something that won’t take place until Tuesday.
Until then, he’ll remain in custody at Middleton Jail, held without bail, after prosecutor Patrick Collins filed motions to have his bail revoked in his other pending cases.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.