INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett announced federal charges Monday in connection with what he called “one of the most sophisticated counterfeiting operations the city of Indianapolis has ever seen.”
Brandon Clark, 24, of Indianapolis, is now charged with counterfeiting and dealing in counterfeit in federal court.
The charges follow Clark’s arrest last Tuesday night when the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service raided a home at 26 North Riley Avenue.
Documents filed in Marion County Court paint the picture of a criminal operation that grew too large for its own good, conducting business with too many people.
Investigators had been working for several months to track down the source of an increase in counterfeit $100 bills showing up at stores, restaurants and banks. Members of IMPD’s Violent Crimes Unit got a solid tip in early December, after arresting a man in a firearms operation. The man decided to cooperate with police by telling them about a house on the east side where counterfeit money was being made. He said a man named “Brandon” was printing cash and selling it from the home.
Detectives followed several other tips from suspects arrested in different cases.
One woman who was arrested with some of the fake cash on her told police she had bought $10,000 worth of counterfeit money for $200. Sources close to the investigation say the money was circulated on the street by drug dealers and others who wanted to use the fake cash to make real money.
One woman who was mentioned in a probable cause affidavit was suspected of being involved in a scheme to make large purchases with phony money and then returning the items for real money.
U.S Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Gary Durham said they started noticing more fake $100 bills showing up at stores, restaurants, gas stations and banks.
When police and the U.S. Secret Service raided the home on North Riley, they arrested Clark along with Timothy Deutscher, 35, and Jessica Fisher, 30. They seized a large amount of equipment including six printers, six paper cutters, a laminating machine, a money counting machine, a counterfeit detection machine, various bottles of ink, large amounts of paper stock and computers. They also found $60-70,000 in counterfeit money. They recovered six guns and methamphetamine.
Formal charges had not been filed against Deutcher or Fisher as of Monday afternoon.
It’s not clear if they will face federal or state charges. It’s also not clear if Clark will face other state charges in addition to the federal counterfeiting charges.
Shutting down the printing operation should put a huge dent in counterfeit production in Indiana. The printing “plant” shut down last week is believed to be responsible for much of the recent increase in fake cash circulating around the state.
But now the problem is all the counterfeit cash still floating around as a result of the operation.
Investigators think Clark printed $250-300,000 in counterfeit cash over the last few months. Some of the money has already shown up in other states like Ohio and Kentucky. There’s no telling how far some of the fake $100 bills have traveled, or how many are still out there.
Authorities urge any individual or business who encounters a $100 to give it a close look.
“They should take a look at it, routinely anyway,” Durham said. “Even regardless of this case.”