News and Press Releases

Ring members passed more than $300,000 in counterfeit cheques across several states

January 13, 2006

KEITH LAMONT SIMS, 35, YVETTE RENEA BAILEY, 36, both of Seattle, and ERIC McGOWAN, 25, of Federal Way, Washington, were sentenced to prison terms today in U.S. District Court for Conspiracy to Make and Pass Fictitious Securities – Counterfeit Travelers Cheques. SIMS was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of supervised release, BAILEY was sentenced to 55 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and McGOWAN was sentenced to 25 months in prison and three years of supervised release. At the sentencing for SIMS, U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman noted that he had convinced others to become involved in crime and has an extensive criminal history. “Since he was a juvenile he has been arrested every single year that he has been out of custody,” the Judge said.

BAILEY and SIMS were the leaders of an extensive conspiracy that cashed more than $300,000 worth of counterfeit travelers cheques across several states. SIMS recruited the person who printed the phoney checks and at least five other people to cash them. Those cashing the cheques were trained by SIMS to dress nicely and purchase items of low value to get the maximum legitimate currency in return for the phoney $100 travelers cheques. Some $90,000 worth of cheques were cashed at SIMS direction. Those who took the phoney cheques into the community kept a portion of the proceeds and returned the rest to SIMS. BAILEY also recruited as many as seven people to pass the bogus cheques and was responsible for approximately $80,000 in losses.

Both SIMS and BAILEY have lengthy criminal records. SIMS has 15 prior convictions, many involving the use of weapons and violence. In fact, he was on probation from a California fraud conviction at the time of his arrest. BAILEY has thirty prior convictions, ranging from petty theft and shoplifting to assault and drug offenses. BAILEY “is also well known and influential in the fraud community.... training many of her cousins to commit bank and related fraud,” stated prosecutors in their sentencing memorandum.

At BAILEY’s sentencing Judge Pechman told her, “I need to remove you from society for an extended period of time. You have a criminal history that is huge.... I have to break that cycle.”

ERIC McGOWAN was a lower level member of the conspiracy. Working with another defendant he passed approximately $50,000 worth of counterfeit travelers cheques across Washington State. McGOWAN has six prior criminal convictions.

SIMS was ordered to pay $90,100 in restitution. BAILEY was ordered to pay $64,100 and McGOWAN was ordered to pay $32,600 in restitution.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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