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UIJEONGBU — South Korean police say they’ll recommend to prosecutors that a U.S. soldier be charged with counterfeiting U.S. and South Korean currency.

They say a Camp Stanley soldier confessed to counterfeiting $20 bills and 10,000-won notes — worth more than $10 each — and to using the counterfeit bills.

Detective Seong Jung-gyu identified the soldier as Pfc. Allen E. Coates of the 304th Signal Battalion.

Seong said Coates confessed to making 30 $20 bills and 20 10,000-won notes using a scanner and printer in his barracks.

Coates spent the money April 6-9 on taxi rides and at Itaewon-area bars, Seong said.

Police will forward charges to the local prosecutor’s office within the next week, Seong said.

A 45-year-old taxi driver triggered the investigation after claiming he received three forged 10,000-won notes after taking a soldier from Seoul to Camp Stanley around 6 a.m. April 7.

The driver at first identified a different Army private who also had taken a taxi from Seoul that day. That private steadfastly denied the charges and has been exonerated, Seong said.

The case stalled until Uijeongbu police contacted the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division and checked records showing Coates entering the base at that time, the detective said, adding, “The CID help has been critical for us to prove the case.”

After questioning, Seong said, Coates confessed to the crime. Police found nine more forged $20 bills in his barracks room, the detective said.

The cab driver was tipped off because the paper texture of the counterfeit currency is thinner than legitimate bills, Seong said. However, the print quality is difficult to distinguish as fake at first glance, he said.

Coates remains in Army custody pending further judicial action, Seong said.

Coates has been returned to his unit and placed on international hold pending the outcome of the investigation, an Army spokeswoman said Friday.

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