13 Members of International Counterfeit Currency Ring Indicted for Racketeering and Related Offenses
Over $77 million in counterfeit U.S. currency passed or seized globally
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Thirteen members of an international counterfeit currency ring were indicted today on racketeering and related charges for allegedly printing and distributing millions of dollars in counterfeit U.S. $100 bills.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Julia A. Pierson, Director of the U.S. Secret Service, made the announcement.
“This alleged counterfeiting ring used sophisticated techniques to mimic the security and design features of the redesigned U.S. $100 bill,” said U.S. Attorney Boente. “I want to commend the Secret Service and its law enforcement partners for aggressively investigating this conspiracy and supporting the prosecution of these 13 defendants.”
“This case is a perfect example of the Secret Service combining traditional investigative methods with cutting-edge technology to resolve a long-term and complex counterfeit currency investigation,” said Secret Service Director Pierson. “These arrests further demonstrate the remarkable level of success our Special Agents have had combatting counterfeit U.S. currency and other financial crimes over our 149 year history.”
According to court records, beginning around 1999, the Secret Service first detected a high-quality counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Note in New York City. The counterfeit bills, which are believed to have been manufactured in Israel through off-set printing, have been circulated predominately along the I-95 corridor and eastern United States. More recently, beginning in January 2014, the organization allegedly established a domestic printing plant in New Jersey. Since the detection of this counterfeit note, over $77.4 million has been passed or seized by law enforcement globally. The Secret Service estimates that in 2013 alone, approximately $10.8 million worth of this counterfeit note was passed or seized.
As detailed in the affidavit in support of a criminal complaint in this case, the Secret Service recently developed critical investigative leads that ultimately contributed to the dismantling of this criminal distribution network. From May 28 to June 13, 2014, agents executed federal arrest and search warrants across five states (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida), culminating in the suppression of a sophisticated counterfeit printing plant in New Jersey that is suspected of producing one of the most prolific counterfeit notes in history. As part of these searches, law enforcement recovered one Heidelberg and one Ryobi off-set printing press, three Heidelberg printing machines, an etching machine used to develop plates, multiple off-set plates, computer equipment, counting machines, approximately $240,700 in genuine U.S. currency, approximately $2.5 million in counterfeit U.S. currency and a stolen .45 caliber Colt 1911 gun.
As outlined in the table below, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned a superseding indictment on Aug. 7, 2014 charging ten members of the criminal enterprise with one count of participating in a racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit multiple offenses relating to the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Three additional defendants (Barrett, Epps and Guerra) were charged with participating in the counterfeiting conspiracy.
All 13 defendants were initially charged by criminal complaint and arrested from May 28 to June 13, 2014. The ten defendants charged with the racketeering conspiracy face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted, and the three defendants charged solely with the counterfeiting conspiracy face a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted.
The defendants are listed in the superseding indictment in the following order:
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from multiple field and resident offices of the Secret Service in Philadelphia, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Long Island and Scranton, Pennsylvania; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Prince William County Police Department; Stafford County Sheriff’s Office; and the police departments of Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Mt. Laurel, New Jersey; Nassau County, New York; Rockville Centre, New York; and Woodstock, Georgia. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly R. Pedersen and Gordon D. Kromberg are prosecuting the case.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-206.
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