The U.S. Secret Service foiled four counterfeiting
schemes since April according to press releases sent out by the
agency. The incidents varied in both sophistication and complexity.
The most serious incident was resolved in April when Alejendrina
Elsa Quispe Ramirez, 48, a Peruvian woman, pleaded guilty and was sentenced
for smuggling $100 bills totaling $1,190,000, all concealed within 140
spindles of thread hidden in her luggage. Her July 2016 arrest at
Boston’s Logan Airport was made in response to a tip from the Peruvian
National Police. As part of a plea agreement, the woman agreed to
leave the United States after sentencing, according to a Department of Justice press release.
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In May in Missouri, Stuart E. Thurber, 56, who lived in his Dodge
Dakota pick-up and trailer, was sentenced to 2½ years in prison
without parole and ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution to victims in
Missouri, Nevada and California, for possessing electronic images for
the purpose of counterfeiting. When officers searched Thurber’s
trailer in a Walmart parking lot they found three laptop computers,
two hard drives and two printers that Thurber confessed were used to
print $100 bills. His method involved washing the ink off genuine
bills and using his computer and color printer to create fake $100
notes. He printed and passed at least 93 such notes in the Western
District of Missouri, according to a Department of Justice press release.
Connecting coins, the arts, and American
Another column in the August 7 monthly issue of Coin World
continues with the art theme, as the artists who’ve designed our
most gorgeous pieces of paper currency are profiled.
Two Chicago men in their twenties, Christopher Pierce, 24, and
Harold Jones, 20, were convicted in June for passing counterfeit
securities, according to the Department of Justice. A color printer
and scanner were used to print fake $5, $10, and $20 notes on linen
paper. The lower values were chosen in the hope of a lower probability
of detection, according to the Department of Justice. The pair used the
counterfeit currency to make small purchases at fast food restaurants,
gas stations, and neighborhood businesses so they could get legitimate
change in return. Pierce, who did the actual printing, according to
officials, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and a year of
supervised release. Jones was sentenced to the 113 days of time served
and a year of supervised release.
Finally, Gena Armstrong, a 20-year-old Georgetown, Louisiana, woman pleaded guilty to
buying paper and a copy machine from an Alexandria office supply store
in order to print $20 notes. In total, she printed a two-sided cut $20
bill, 30 two-sided uncut $20 bills and nine one-sided uncut $20 bills.
She faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release
and a $250,000 fine at her Sept. 13 sentencing.