CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A staff member for an Ohio congresswoman pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a charge of using a counterfeit $100 bill at a concession stand at a Cleveland Browns football game, authorities said.
Veronica Brownlee, 39, a caseworker in U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty’s office in Columbus, Ohio, was charged with misdemeanor criminal simulation after her arrest on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, according to court documents.
Brownlee has been put on administrative leave, said Galen Alexander, a spokesman for the Democratic representative.
“As the judicial process moves forward, I want to be crystal clear that there is no tolerance for violating the law in my office,” Beatty said Tuesday in a statement.
Brownlee and Arion Robinson, also 39 and from Columbus, were arrested after a concession worker told a security officer the pair bought beer with a fake $100 bill, a police report said.
The bill had the same serial number as two other counterfeit $100 bills used at concession stands on Sunday, the report said.
Police searched Brownlee and Robinson, recovering five fake $100 bills from Brownlee, the report said. Brownlee told police she got the bills from Robinson, while Robinson said he got the bills from her, the report said.
Brownlee and Robinson could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday. Both pleaded not guilty in Cleveland Municipal court on Tuesday, and bond was set at $1,000 each.
Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by David Bailey and Susan Heavey