Former NU Staffer Charged in Funny Money Scam

Guns, counterfeit bills and "date rape" drug found in hotel room, cops say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Chicago Police Department
    Jeffrey Mundt, 38, and Joseph Banis, 38, of Kentucky, were arrested Sunday with $50,000 in counterfeit money, "date rape" drugs, and weapons. The pair could face federal charges.

    A former Northwestern University employee and another man found with $50,000 in counterfeit money, a suspected "date rape" drug, weapons and fake identifications cards at a Chicago hotel were ordered held on bond following initial court appearances Tuesday.

    Jeffrey Mundt and Joseph Banis, both 38 years old and from Louisville, Ky., were arrested shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, after Mundt tried to exchange a fake $100 for smaller denominations with a doorman.

    The nine-year veteran staff member of the hotel, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the Benjamin handed to him was as green as a tulip leaf.  And wet.

    Two security checks confirmed his suspicions:  the bill was counterfeit; a clever overlay on a $1 bill.

    A search of Mundt and Banis' hotel room by police turned up thousands of dollars in suspected funny money, weapons, a couple of small bottles of what is suspected to be the "date rape" drug gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid and fictitious identification cards.

    "You have to wonder what kind of weekend were they planning," Hyatt General Manager Patrick Donnelly said.

    Mundt is a 1995 graduate of Indiana University and a general contractor, according to Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti.  He'd previously worked at Northwestern University for three years as a full-time employee in the Office of Change Management.  At one point, he was the the Director of Finance within that department, the university confirmed.

    He was arrested while carrying a Washington, D.C. driver's license that used his photo but another man's information. He was charged with theft by deception and possession of a fictitious or altered identification card and was ordered held on $50,000 bond.

    Banis was also arrested while carrying a doctored Washington, D.C. driver's license, in addition to a glock pistol with 14 live rounds in his jacket pocket, police said. He had two other guns in his luggage, two bottles of GHB and tens of thousands of suspected counterfeit cash.

    Banis appeared in court sporting a teal-colored spiked mohawk with matching fingernails and was charged with three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a phony identification card, misdemeanor theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and not having a Firearm Owner's Identification Card.

    The self-employed former University of Louisville student has a prior record for drug convictions in New Jersey, Ohio and Kentucky and was ordered held in lieu of $200,000 by Judge Donald Panarese.

    It's not known what the men were planning to do with the illegal items.

    The men are also facing the possibility they will be charged federally because of the counterfeit money.

    A preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 6.