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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pair Sentenced in Counterfeit Spending Spree in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Two Palm Beach County residents were sentenced today to possessing and using counterfeit currency.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Neil Melofchik, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, William R. Latchford, Chief, Seminole Police Department, and Stephen J. Stepp, Chief, Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, made the announcement.

Bernardo Lecaros, 35, of Delray Beach, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg to 27 months imprisonment, to be followed by two years of supervised release upon release, and was also ordered to pay $5,400 in restitution.  Co-defendant Mariana Cordova Ortiz, 23, of West Palm Beach, was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment, to be followed by a year of supervised release. Both Lecaros and Ortiz previously pled guilty to passing counterfeit currency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 472. Lecaros also pled guilty to conspiracy to pass and possess counterfeit currency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

According to public records and information presented in court, on December 10, 2014 and December 14, 2014, Lecaros passed $5,400 in counterfeit currency at the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood, Florida.  Lecaros also possessed an additional $37,800 in counterfeit currency.  On December 20, 2014, Lecaros was arrested by the Seminole Police Department and the USSS in connection with his use of counterfeit money at the casino.

In a separate incident, according to public records and information presented in court, Lecaros and Ortiz were arrested on March 3, 2015 by the USSS and the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department after Lecaros used $300 in counterfeit currency to purchase merchandise at a luxury department store inside the Palm Beach Gardens Mall, and possessed an additional $31,500 in counterfeit currency that day.  Lecaros and Ortiz had entered the mall together that day, and Ortiz used $700 in counterfeit currency to purchase luxury goods.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the USSS, the Seminole Police Department and the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Jorgensen and Randy Katz.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated February 4, 2016