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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Two Indicted On Counterfeit Charges

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a grand jury in Scranton returned an indictment Tuesday charging Aric T. Branch, age 34, Queens, New York and Crystal Sunshine Smith, age 35, Holbrook, New York, with conspiracy to pass, receive, and deal in counterfeit United States Federal Reserve Notes. Branch and Smith are also charged with aiding and abetting each other in the passing, receiving, and dealing in counterfeit notes.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, in May 2013, Branch and Smith traveled from New York to Dickson City, Pennsylvania for the purpose of passing the counterfeit notes at various retailers located in Dickson City, including J.C. Penney and Target Department Stores.

     The case was jointly investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Dickson City Police Department.

     Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski.

     Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 45 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 9, 2015