News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TUESDAY - April 6, 2010

PERUVIAN SENTENCED FOR MULTISTATE

COUNTERFEIT PASSING CONSPIRACY

RALEIGH – United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced RENE AMADOR CASTILLO, 59, of Raleigh, North Carolina, to eight months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. Mr. Castillo is also subject to possible deportation as a result of this felony conviction.

Early in 2009 the United States Secret Service in Raleigh became aware that multiple local merchants were falling victim to the passing of a high quality, counterfeit $100 bill. This high quality counterfeit bill, known as the “Peruvian” note due to its creation in Peru, was being passed with great frequency in various locations in the United States in addition to North Carolina, including Washington, D.C., Maryland, South Carolina, and Georgia. The United States Secret Service, in cooperation with the United States Attorney’s Offices in multiple districts, took coordinated steps to investigate the counterfeit passing conspiracy and its participants.

Acting on a tip from Washington, D.C., agents with the United States Secret Service in Raleigh conducted surveillance on CASTILLO, a Raleigh resident, and his associates. Agents were able to track the defendant as he and his conspirators passed counterfeit Peruvian notes at numerous stores in the Eastern District of North Carolina, including Raleigh, Cary, Wilmington, and Fayetteville. CASTILLO and his associates were also known to travel throughout North and South Carolina passing counterfeit bills. The investigation revealed that CASTILLO was supplied with counterfeit cash through a conspirator in the Washington, D.C. area. The investigation also revealed that CASTILLO assisted others to pass counterfeit currency by driving them to various stores in multiple cities.

In August of 2009, Rolesville Police arrested CASTILLO on charges of passing a counterfeit Peruvian note at a Rite Aid. A subsequent search of CASTILLO’s van yielded an additional $1,500 in counterfeit notes, as well as gift cards that had recently been purchased with counterfeit notes. Shortly thereafter, the Secret Service, with cooperation from this office, obtained a search warrant to search CASTILLO’s residence. Inside, agents discovered various additional documents and receipts linking CASTILLO to numerous counterfeit passes in multiple states.

Agents with the United States Secret Service arrested CASTILLO at the time of the search of his residence. Simultaneously with this search and arrest, additional searches and arrests were undertaken in the Washington, D.C. area as part of a broader Peruvian counterfeit investigation. Subsequent to these arrests, additional conspirators were arrested on related charges of passing the counterfeit currency in other jurisdictions in North Carolina.

On November 16, 2009, CASTILLO pled guilty to conspiring to pass and utter counterfeit obligations of the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. As part of the plea agreement, the defendant stipulated that his conduct involved losses exceeding $70,000. The investigation revealed that the defendant and his conspirators passed in excess of $82,000 in Peruvian counterfeit. At the sentencing today before Judge Boyle, in addition to the term of imprisonment and supervised release imposed, the court ordered that the defendant pay back $59,900 to the 28 known victims of the counterfeit conspiracy.

Mr. Holding commented, “Today’s counterfeiters are more organized and advanced than ever. Their criminal activity is more sophisticated and more difficult to detect than ever. Nevertheless, the Secret Service, performing a role that had for more than a century, has successfully investigated the activities of these criminals. We applaud the work of the Secret Service. Their commitment to the integrity of our financial system and the security of our currency is critical to the successful functioning of our economic system.”

The investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Secret Service and the Rolesville Police Department. This case was handled by the Office’s Economic Crimes Section, with Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore assigned as prosecutor.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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