MISSOURI CITY, TX (KTRK) --The District Attorney has tossed counterfeiting charges cops filed against a Fort Bend ISD Elkins High School sophomore after he found a $10 bill and tried to buy a ham sandwich with it.
After a review of evidence charges were not merited, according to District Attorney John F. Healey, Jr.
"Today, one of the cases referred to the Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office in 2015 involving the use of counterfeit money was dismissed after a review of the evidence by my office, much of which was provided after the case was filed," Healey said.
The case of 15-year-old Alec Hunter -- an A and B student with no disciplinary problems -- being slapped with felony counterfeiting charges was first reported by Ted Oberg Investigates and soon became national news.
ISD police investigate $2 bill spent on school lunch
At issue: Fort Bend ISD police apparently investigating a good kid like he's a hardened criminal for simply buying a sandwich with money he did not know was counterfeit.
"You've got a kid, by who all accounts is a good kid," said dad Louis Hunter told abc13 earlier this month. "He's got letters from all his teachers, all his classes. He's never been in trouble."
Fort Bend ISD officials did not directly respond to the dismissal of charges, but said in a statement "that most of the District's counterfeit or forgery cases have been solicited for investigation by a victim and not through a school-related transaction. FBISD police officers are committed to perform their duties for all students, regardless of the issue or concern."
Ft. Bend ISD police chief lays out lunch line counterfeit issues for school board
See Ted Oberg's original investigation into lunchroom lunacy here.
See the Alec Hunter ham sandwich story here.
Hunter was part of the abc13 investigation looking into school police units spending countless hours investigating small counterfeit bills used by students in lunch lines that sometimes turn out not to be fake at all.
Charges dropped against Ft. Bend student accused of using fake $10 bill
These counterfeit charges are no slap on the wrist. It's a felony and in some cases a fake bill could move a student from the classroom into a Texas prison for two to 10 years.
Ted Oberg Investigates examined police reports between the 2013-14 school year and 2016 dealing with lunch line forgery from not only Fort Bend ISD, but Houston ISD and Cy-Fair ISD as well.
There were 40 cases in all. Cy-Fair had the most, Houston ISD the least. Alec's case is one of nine counterfeiting charges investigated against high- and middle-school students at Fort Bend ISD since the 2013-2014 school year.
There are plenty more cases like these all across Texas.
Not every case results in an arrest. Indeed, many are declined by the district attorney, but all have been investigated by police. In many cases that results in a student being sent to alternative school while the case is being investigated.
Officials previously offered Alec a deal. Simply go to counseling, behave well for six months and prosecutors would dismiss it. All Alec had to do was plead guilty.
Hunter and his son refused.