Rich Ferretti, Resident Agent in Charge of the Secret Service in New Mexico, confirmed an investigation was ongoing. "There are counterfeit notes involved, deceptive notes," Ferretti said Tuesday.
According to police reports, as officers patted Mateo down in a hotel hallway early Sunday, he made a statement in Spanish to police that translates to, "I didn't pass the bad money." "Before officers informed him of why we were there, Julio stated that he did not know anything about fake money," Officer Christopher Enyart wrote in a police report.
Mateo's agent didn't immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
Giants spokesman Blake Rhodes said the team declined to comment. The case marks another legal tangle for Mateo, traded by Seattle to Philadelphia after admitting he hit his wife at a Manhattan hotel in May 2007. He pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and disorderly conduct in that case.
Mateo, signed by San Francisco last winter as a free agent, was released by the Phillies in December. He has spent six years in the majors, mostly with Seattle, and has been trying to resurrect his career with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies.
According to the Albuquerque police reports, the 30-year-old Mateo is accused of using a counterfeit $100 bill to pay a $26.80 cab fare for himself and Fresno teammate Victor Santos. Police said the cab driver later used the fake bill to pay a lease fee upon returning the vehicle, but a cashier using a marking pen identified the currency as bogus. The driver returned to the team's hotel and called police.
After investigating officers received permission from Mateo to enter his hotel room, an officer saw "two stacks (of) money with $100 bills on top of the stacks," a police report said. Officers alerted Secret Service agents, who arrived and questioned Mateo.
AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick in New York contributed to this report.