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Press Release

Jury Convicts Orlando Women Of Conspiring To Pass And Possess Counterfeit Currency

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has found Sandra Milena Nieves (41) and Eileen Santos (50), both of Orlando, guilty of conspiring to pass and possess counterfeit currency. The jury also convicted Nieves on substantive counts of passing and possessing counterfeit currency and Santos on a substantive count of possessing counterfeit currency. Nieves and Santos each face a maximum penalty of 45 and 25 years in federal prison, respectively. They were indicted on June 2, 2015. Their sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 21, 2016.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, between December 2011 and January 2012, Nieves, Santos, along with co-conspirators Jorge Ortiz-Pulgarin, Ramon Rodriguez, Carlos Fuentes, and others, traveled from central Florida up the east coast of the United States with approximately $40,000 in counterfeit currency. The group stopped at more than 30 locations to make small purchases. They used counterfeit $100 bills and received genuine U.S. currency as change. During the road trip, in December 2011, conspirators attempted to pass a counterfeit bill at a mall in Melbourne, Florida. The serial number on the bill matched the number of other counterfeit bills that were subsequently seized from co-conspirators.

In January 2012, Jorge Ortiz-Pulgarin was arrested with $6,500 in counterfeit currency. Shortly thereafter, another member of the conspiracy, Fabian Ortiz, was arrested with more than $200,000 in counterfeit currency.  Ortiz-Pulgarin and Ortiz were each federally charged, convicted, and sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy. Ramon Rodriguez and Carlos Fuentes have pleaded guilty for their roles in this conspiracy and are scheduled to be sentenced on November 5, 2015.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Embry J. Kidd and Shawn P. Napier.

Updated October 30, 2015

Financial Fraud