Paper Money

UK’s highest-value fake money seizure brings convictions

After investigations begun when the Bank of England caught about £1.6 million worth of counterfeit £20 notes from circulation, three London-area men are convicted of conspiracy to supply more than £12 million worth of fake notes.

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Following a long and complex investigation, December and January proceedings in the London region’s Woolwich Crown Court resulted in sentencings for conspiracy to supply more than £12 million worth of counterfeit bank notes. Three local men were convicted in what is thought to be the single largest face-value seizure of counterfeit currency in United Kingdom history.

Oct. 9, 2019, a dog walker found around £5 million (convertible to $6.85 million) worth of fake bank notes dumped in the London area suburban village of Belvedere. Then, on Jan. 15, 2020, another £200,940 was found, along a nearby railway line.

These were new leads in a police investigation that had actually begun in January 2019, after the Bank of England identified and removed about £1.6 million worth of counterfeit £20 notes from general circulation. It was a new counterfeit that seemed to have been printed with the kind of printing equipment normally associated with production of large volumes of magazines or leaflets.

After investigations that included analysis of an encrypted mobile phone, a search warrant was executed May 4, 2019, at a business in the southeast London town of Beckenham. When the police entered, Phillip Brown and another man were found at work surrounded by printing equipment and £5.25 million worth of counterfeit currency. Brown said to the police “you have caught me red-handed.” He received a six-and-a-half-year sentence.

Sentenced to 10 years was John Evans, one of the main organizers, who also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice for attempting to exert pressure on someone else to admit his involvement.

Nick Winter, owner of the business where the operation was conducted, got a six-year term.

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