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News Release
U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

July 15, 2013

Providence Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Passing Counterfeit Money

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Russell Yates, 42, of Providence, was sentenced on Friday to 30 months in federal prison for possessing and passing counterfeit money, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Brian S. Deck, Acting Resident Agent in Charge of the Providence Office of the U.S. Secret Service.

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith also ordered Yates to serve 3 years of supervised releases upon completion of his prison term. Yates pleaded guilty on March 14, 2013, to two counts of possessing and passing counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes and one count of possession of counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes.

According to information presented to the court, the general manager of a Providence hotel contacted the U.S. Secret Service on February 23, 2010, to report that a counterfeit $100 bill had been passed by a guest registered at the hotel. U.S. Secret Service agents examined the $100 bill and determined that it had been printed on an altered genuine $5 bill paper – often referred to as “bleach” counterfeit.

According to information presented to the court, when U.S. Secret Service agents responded to a room registered by Yates, they were allowed to enter the room to search for additional currency. Yates turned over a significant amount of cash he had stored in his pants pocket. An examination by U.S. Secret Service agents of the cash revealed five additional counterfeit $100 bills that were the same as the counterfeit $100 bill passed to the hotel front desk, each bearing the same serial number, and three counterfeit $50 bills. In addition, the agents seized items used in the manufacturing of counterfeit currency, including two all-in-one scanner/printers, a laptop computer, paint brushes with dried green/black ink, latex gloves and masks, metal cookie sheets and aluminum foil, and a can of an oven cleaning agent.

Through further investigation, federal agents learned that three days earlier, employees at a take-out restaurant in Providence reported receipt of $150 in counterfeit $10 and $50 bills to the Providence Police.  Review of video surveillance used by the store showed Yates and others he was associated with making several purchases at the store.  The $50 bill had the same serial number a genuine $50 bill and of counterfeit bills seized from Yates at the time of his arrest at the hotel.

At sentencing, the court noted that Yates has spent nearly his entire adult life incarcerated, having been waived by the courts to adult status at age seventeen. Yates was previously convicted of racketeering, inciting a riot while incarcerated at the ACI, larceny and robbery. Yates most recent release from state prison occurred six months prior to his arrest by federal agents on counterfeiting charges.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan.

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