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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 27, 2020

Bay Area Residents Sentenced To Five Years For Counterfeit Currency And Credit Card Fraud Schemes

Defendants passed counterfeit $100 bills and conspired in $250,000 credit card fraud

SAN FRANCISCO – Nicole Dunlap and Marcus Smith were sentenced to approximately five years in prison for their roles in a currency counterfeiting and credit card fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and United States Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Thomas C. Edwards.  Defendant Nicole Dunlap was sentenced to 57 months imprisonment; and defendant Marcus Smith was sentenced to 63 months imprisonment.  The sentences were handed down by the Honorable Susan Illston, Senior United States District Judge. 

Dunlap, 36, and Smith, 37, pleaded guilty to the charges on November 6, 2019.  According to their plea agreements, Dunlap and Smith each took part in a conspiracy to manufacture and pass counterfeit one hundred dollar bills.  The bills were manufactured in San Francisco and passed or used for payment around the Bay Area.  For example, Dunlap admitted to using counterfeit currency at a business in San Francisco, and Smith admitted to carrying counterfeit one hundred dollar bills in Oakland; and each admitted doing so with the intent to defraud.  Dunlap and Smith also acknowledged that the conspiracy involved the manufacture of more than 950 counterfeit one hundred dollar bills. 

In addition, Dunlap and Smith admitted in their plea agreements to a credit card fraud scheme, involving the possession and use of hundreds of fraudulent credit and identification cards in the identities of numerous victims, as well as card-making equipment in the furtherance of their fraud.  In their plea agreements, the defendants stated that they obtained personal information for victims from the Internet and created fraudulent access devices to rent cars, book hotel rooms, rent high-end purses for sale, and make other fraudulent purchases.  For example, when Dunlap was arrested, she had in her possession more than one hundred fraudulent cards with various victims’ identities, as well as multiple pieces of access device-making equipment.  Upon Smith’s arrest, he also had more than 1500 fraudulent cards with various victims’ identities, as well as multiple pieces of access device-making equipment.  The defendants each acknowledged that the total losses from their credit card fraud conspiracy were no less than $250,000.

A federal grand jury indicted Dunlap and Smith in a superseding indictment on June 18, 2019, charging each of them with one count of conspiracy to counterfeit obligations of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; one count of passing and possessing counterfeit obligations of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 472; one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(b)(2); one count of fraudulent possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(3); one count of fraudulent possession of device-making equipment, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(4); and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A.  Dunlap and Smith pleaded guilty on all counts, except the aggravated identity theft counts, which were dismissed.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Illston sentenced Dunlap and Smith to a three-year period of supervised release and ordered them to pay restitution to the victims of their crimes in amounts to be determined.  Dunlap and Smith are in federal custody and will begin serving their sentences immediately.

Four additional co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to related charges for their roles in the counterfeiting conspiracy and await their sentences as indicated in the following chart:

Name Charges Sentence
Joshua Barnes Conspiracy to Counterfeit Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371; Counterfeiting Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 472; Passing and Possessing Counterfeit Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 472 Sentencing pending
Erasto Campos a/k/a Eric Campos Conspiracy to Counterfeit Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371; Passing and Possessing Counterfeit Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 472 Sentencing scheduled for January 28, 2020
Michael Okeefe Conspiracy to Counterfeit Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371; Passing and Possessing Counterfeit Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 472 Sentencing scheduled for April 10, 2020
Michael Suderman Conspiracy to Counterfeit Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371; Passing and Possessing Counterfeit Obligations of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 472 Status conference regarding sentencing scheduled for February 14, 2020

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Cheng is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Morgan Byrne.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Updated January 27, 2020