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Press Release

Former Iowa Police Officer and Disbarred Attorney Sent to Federal Prison for Dealing Counterfeit U.S. Currency

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A former Iowa police officer, who is also a disbarred Iowa attorney, was sentenced yesterday to two years in federal prison.  Brian Loren Stowe, 43, from Waverly, Iowa, received the prison term after a September 30, 2015 guilty plea to the federal charge of dealing in counterfeit currency.

In 2013, the Iowa Supreme Court disbarred Stowe, once a partner at a Des Moines law firm, after he was convicted of felony forgery charges and received a deferred judgment for possession of methamphetamine in state court.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Stowe was a sworn law enforcement officer with the police department in Nevada, Iowa, and worked on a local drug task force.

In a plea agreement dated September 14, 2015, Stowe admitted that, in November 2014, he offered to sell an undercover officer $500 in counterfeit U.S. currency for $100.  Then, in February 2015, he accepted $250 for $900 in counterfeit currency.

At sentencing, Stowe admitted that, in fact, he manufactured the counterfeit currency.  And when dealing the counterfeit currency, Stowe explained he used a “formula” to “wash” or remove ink from genuine bills.  He also advised the undercover officer to put the counterfeit bills in a dryer with poker chips so that the bills would look wrinkled and worn.  He also told the undercover officer to spend the bills on small items at fast food restaurants where teenagers work, because they are less likely to detect counterfeit bills.

During the sentencing hearing, the district judge found that Stowe intentionally misled a federal magistrate judge about the status of his law license.  While discussing whether he might represent himself in these federal proceedings, he told the magistrate judge his law license was “expired” when, in truth, it had been revoked by the Iowa Supreme Court in 2013.  In the written decision revoking Stowe’s license, the Iowa Supreme Court detailed his ethical failings and characterized Stowe’s “life story” as one that “mirrors that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

Also at sentencing, the district court determined that Stowe had made a series of telephone calls from jail shortly after his arrest on the federal counterfeiting charge, in which Stowe demonstrated he was a “master manipulator” of his father, mother, and girlfriend by “grooming” them on what to say at an upcoming federal hearing. The district court indicated the jail calls proved Stowe’s “criminal thinking” and “substance abuse” “to the max”.

Stowe was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  Stowe was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $100 was imposed.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the United States Secret Service, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Divisions of Narcotics Enforcement and Criminal Investigation, the Waterloo Police Department, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service. 

Court file information at 

The case file number is 15-CR-2034-LRR.

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Updated January 25, 2016

Financial Fraud