A 30-year-old DeWitt man recently incarcerated for forgery now faces more charges after Bettendorf Police say he bought a drone with counterfeit bills, then tried to sell it.
Taylor Skeel faces a felony charge of forgery and an aggravated misdemeanor charge of third-degree theft, court records show.
Counterfeit $100 bills
On Sept. 20, 2022, police allege Skeel met at a victim’s residence for a Facebook Marketplace transaction. Skeel wanted to buy the victim’s used Autel drone for $350, according to arrest affidavits.
Police allege Skeel paid the victim with four forged $100 bills, then the victim gave Skeel the drone and $50 in real currency. The victim realized the four $100 bills were forged after Skeel left, affidavits show. The victim later texted and voice-messaged Skeel via his cell phone about the forged bills but Skeel never responded.
“Skeel used his Facebook account to facilitate the fraudulent transaction with the victim. Records obtained from Facebook via a search warrant confirmed the Marketplace transaction between Skeel and the victim. Skeel was already trying to sell the victim’s drone to another person later on 9-20-22 via Facebook,” police allege in affidavits.
Another fraud was reported on Sept. 20, 2022, involving Skeel using two forged $100 bills to buy virtual-reality goggles via Facebook Marketplace, affidavits show. All six forged bills from both cases had the same serial number.
“Our city traffic cameras and our Rekor LPR system showed the same white 2008 Ford Expedition … at or very near the scene of both incidents on 9-20-22,” police allege in affidavits.
The registered owner of the Ford told police they were with Skeel when he drove the Ford Expedition during the first fraudulent transaction, while the registered owner and another person were passengers.
The Ford owner said Skeel knew the $100 bills were fake.
Skeel has three previous theft convictions in Iowa: Clinton County, second-degree theft conviction in 2019; Scott County, fifth-degree theft conviction in 2021; and Dubuque County, third-degree theft conviction on March 24, 2023, affidavits show.
Affidavits show that, as of Oct. 31, 2023, Skeel was incarcerated on unrelated forgery charges in the Anamosa State Penitentiary in Anamosa, Iowa.
Skeel, who was arrested on a warrant, is being held on a total $10,000 cash-only bond in Scott County Jail. He is set for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 17 in Scott County Court.