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Press Release

Counterfeiter Sentenced for Scheme in Southern Missouri, Nevada, California

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a man who lived in his travel trailer was sentenced in federal court today for a counterfeiting scheme that victimized businesses across the United States.

Stuart E. Thurber, 56, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to two years and six months in federal prison without parole. Today’s sentence reflects an upward variance from the recommendation under the federal sentencing guidelines. The court also ordered Thurber to pay $9,000 in restitution to several Missouri businesses in Mountain View, Springfield and West Plains as well as businesses in Nevada and California.

On Sept. 6, 2016, Thurber pleaded guilty 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 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.

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.

This case was 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 May 9, 2017