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Press Release

Counterfeiter Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a man who lived in his travel trailer pleaded guilty in federal court today to a counterfeiting scheme that victimized businesses across the United States.


Stuart E. Thurber, 55, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to possessing electronic images for the purpose of counterfeiting.


Thurber was arrested on April 5, 2016, by Mountain View, Mo., police officers for passing counterfeit $100 bills. When officers searched his truck and travel trailer in the Wal-Mart parking lot, they found three laptop computers, two hard drives and two printers. Thurber admitted that these items were used to print counterfeit $100 bills.


Thurber also acknowledged in today’s plea agreement that the government could establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he engaged in counterfeiting from January 2014 to June 2016. Thurber, who lived in his Dodge Dakota pick-up and travel trailer, engaged in a counterfeiting operation whereby he “washed” the ink off of genuine bills and used his computer and color printer to create counterfeit $100 bills, which he then passed to unsuspecting businesses throughout the United States.


Thurber manufactured and passed at least 93 counterfeit $100 bills in the Western District of Missouri. Among the victims of Thurber’s criminal activity was Dollar General and Wal-Mart in Mountain View, Southern Supply in Springfield, Mo., and Dollar General in West Plains, Mo. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Thurber must pay $800 in restitution to both Dollar General (in Mountain View) and Southern Supply; he must $400 in restitution to both Dollar General (in West Plains) and Wal-Mart.


At the time of his arrest, Thurber attempted to avoid detection and punishment by claiming to be a citizen of New Zealand and presenting a counterfeit New Zealand identification card in the name David Turnbull.


Under federal statutes, Thurber is subject to a sentence of up to 25 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Mountain View, Mo., Police Department, the Ozark, Mo., Police Department and the West Plains, Mo., Police Department.

Updated September 6, 2016