News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Albert Lea couple sentenced for passing counterfeit currency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier today in federal court, a couple from Albert Lea was sentenced
for their roles in a counterfeiting ring that targeted businesses along the Interstate-35 corridor
between the Twin Cities and the Iowa border. United States District Court Judge Ann D.
Montgomery sentenced Travis Allen Cameron, age 31, to 12 months in prison and Heather Ann
Cameron, age 34, to 12 months in prison on one count of counterfeiting U.S. currency. The
couple was indicted along with six co-defendants on August 2, 2011. Travis Cameron pleaded
guilty on October 24, 2011, and Heather Cameron pleaded guilty on October 27, 2011.

Following today’s sentencing, Louis Stephens, the Special Agent in Charge of the local
office of the U.S. Secret Service, said, “The defendants in this case were relatively sophisticated
in their means of counterfeiting U.S. currency. They used a process commonly referred to as
‘bleaching notes.’ While this process consumes time and requires some expertise, it enables the
counterfeiters to print fake Federal Reserve notes on genuine currency paper, which increases
the likelihood that it will be successfully passed.”

In her plea agreement, Heather Cameron admitted that from December of 2010 through
June of 2011, she chemically washed, or “bleached,” $5 bills and reprinted them as $100 bills.
In their plea agreements, Heather and Travis Cameron admitted that from May through June of
2011, they produced altered bills, which were sold for about 50 cents on the dollar.

Special Agent in Charge Stephens also said, “The defendants in this case were prolific in
passing the counterfeit currency over a widespread area throughout Minnesota, to include
businesses and retail establishments in the Twin Cities, Hennepin County, Rice County,
Freeborn County, and Blue Earth County. The combined efforts and resources of the U.S.
Secret Service, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the South Central Drug
Investigations Unit, and the Rice County Drug Task Force were instrumental in identifying and
dismantling this criminal enterprise. Partnerships like this between federal, state, and local law
enforcement agencies are a proven model for successfully investigating and prosecuting cases
such as this.”

On January 23, 2012, co-defendant Eric Michael Dorman, age 34, of Fairmont, was
sentenced to 37 months in federal prison on one count of counterfeiting. He pleaded guilty on
October 20, 2011. Dorman admitted that from May through June of 2011, he produced altered
bills to be passed at retail businesses for the purpose of obtaining actual currency and goods.

Also on January 23, 2012, co-defendant Sarah Ann Wood, age 27, of Owatonna, was
sentenced to four months in federal prison on one count of uttering altered U.S. currency. She
pleaded guilty on October 24, 2011. In her plea agreement, she admitted that on May 18 and
May 22, 2011, she knowingly used altered currency at five Mankato businesses.

On January 24, 2012, co-defendant Vincent Dwayne Tampio, age 33, of Faribault, was
sentenced to 24 months on one count of counterfeiting. He pleaded guilty on October 20, 2011.
Tampio admitted that from May through June of 2011, he, too, produced altered bills to be
passed at retail businesses for the purpose of obtaining actual currency and goods.

On January 19, 2012, co-defendant Dustin David Hanson, age 35, of Northfield, was
sentenced to four months on one count of uttering altered currency. He pleaded guilty on
October 14, 2011. Hanson admitted that on June 16, 2011, he knowingly used altered currency
at a Rochester business. The altered currency was washed $5 bills reprinted as $100 bills.

On January 13, 2012, co-defendant Daniel Jay Wilson, age 27, of Owatonna, was sentenced
to 12 months and one day on one count of uttering altered currency. He pleaded guilty on
September 14, 2011. Unlike his seven co-defendants, Wilson did not enter a plea agreement.

On January 24, 2012, Meranda Lynn O’Connor, age 29, of Albert Lea, was sentenced to
three years of probation on one count of uttering altered currency. She pleaded guilty on
October 20, 2011. O’Connor admitted that between December 21, 2010, and January 1, 2011,
she knowingly passed altered currency at businesses in Bloomington and Burnsville.

As stated above, this case was the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Secret
Service, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the South Central Drug
Investigations Unit, and the Rice County Drug Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S.
Attorney Clifford B. Wardlaw.

The Secret Service and the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office want to remind people how to
check for counterfeit currency. For more information, visit
http://www.secretservice.gov/know_your_money.shtml

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