Victor Raul andia Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 1, 2010, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, VICTOR RAUL ANDIA, a 25-year-old citizen of Peru, appeared for sentencing. ANDIA was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 14 months
- Special Assessment: $200
- Restitution: to be determined within 90 days
- Supervised Release: 3 years
ANDIA was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to pass counterfeit money.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. Archer, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On March 6 -7, 2009, merchants in the Billings area began receiving numerous counterfeit $100 bills. On March 7-8, 2009, merchants in the Great Falls area began receiving the same kind of $100 bills. These counterfeit notes contain different serial numbers, but had common identifiers such as a face plate number G-24 and a back plate number 29. All the notes were a 1999 series.
Further analysis conducted by the United States Secret Service indicated that these particular counterfeit notes are known as "circular 22705" or "C-22705." The Secret Service has tracked this counterfeit note since 2003 and it is known to be in a "family" of counterfeit notes manufactured in Peru. According to Secret Service statistics, these Peruvian notes have constituted $7.8 million dollars circulated across the United States in the past year. In addition, $446,280 in fake U.S. currency from Peru was seized before it was circulated in the United States (mostly at ports or airports), and more than $18.2 million in raids in Peru.
Since 2008, the C-22705 has consistently ranked in the top 3 of most circulating counterfeit notes in the country and is only surpassed by additional notes of the same Peruvian Note Family. Approximately $25,000 - $50,000 of the C-22705 is consistently passed every week in the United States.
Several merchants who received these counterfeit notes in Billings and Great Falls provided surveillance photographs of the counterfeit passes. These photos depict two Hispanic males passing the counterfeit $100 bills. An agent contacted a motel in Billings and discovered that a Hispanic male stayed there the night of March 6 and listed one other adult as staying in the room. The receipt showed that ANDIA checked into the motel, listing his address in Reseda, California. A criminal history check revealed that ANDIA was arrested in February 2009 for reckless driving in Oregon. Reports indicated that ANDIA was the driver and S.P. was ANDIA's passenger during that incident.
The agent received driver's license photographs for ANDIA and S.P. Comparing these photographs to the surveillance images of counterfeit passes in Great Falls and Billings clearly illustrates that ANDIA and S.P. were the individuals passing counterfeit notes. A photo lineup was shown to an employee at store on Grand Avenue in Billings where one of the counterfeit notes was passed. The employee positively identified S.P. as the individual who passed the counterfeit note. Additional surveillance images show individuals that appear to be ANDIA and S.P. making passes at various locations in Billings and Great Falls.
Additional on-going investigation has revealed that ANDIA is associated with a group primarily responsible for circulating the C-22705 counterfeit note throughout the western United States. Recent arrests in the summer of 2009 garnered statements from other individuals. One statement identified ANDIA as providing $6,000 in additional counterfeit with an agreement that proceeds be split 50-50.
In all, ANDIA and S.P. passed over $12,000 in Montana in the course of a few days. Further investigation revealed that between January 2009 and March 13, 2009, there were 177 passes in Washington and 2 in the state of Oregon for this same C-22705 note.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that ANDIA will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, ANDIA does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service.