Three alleged counterfeiters in two separate federal cases in Southcentral Alaska have been accused of altering actual Federal Reserve notes into larger bills.
Forty-two-year-old Anchorage resident Eugene David Downey has been charged with four criminal counts for "passing counterfeit money at several stores in the Anchorage area," according to a U.S. Attorney's office press release. Additionally, Chugiak residents Matthew Lee Daley, 43, and Christa Louise Speiser, 30, have been charged with doing the same in the Eagle River area, and conspiring together to do so.
In both cases the fake money was made out of genuine $1 and $5 U.S. bank notes. The smaller bills had allegedly been bleached and reprinted as $50 and $100 bills. But the cases do not appear related, the press release says.
According to a federal indictment, Downey used several of the fake $50 bills between August and November 2013 at Anchorage stores.
Daley and Speiser are charged with making counterfeit money on a laptop at their residence. The alleged criminal duo "printed 58 counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Notes," specifically bills from a 2004 series that shared a single serial number "using a Dell laptop and Hewlett Packard printer," the indictment says.
They successfully used the self-made $100 bills at Eagle River stores on at least five occasions, according to the indictment. On a sixth occasion, the indictment indicates Daley and Speiser "attempted to pass" a phony Benjamin Franklin.
It's alleged the duo drove Speiser's Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the stores and bought items to get change and buy gift cards.
Downey is currently in state custody; Daley was arrested on the federal charges on Friday, and an arrest warrant has been issued for Speiser, the press release says. In both cases, the defendants face 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
Downey has a lengthy criminal history in state court, including multiple District and Superior Court convictions. He was found guilty of forging legal documents in March 2013. According to online court records, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail and had an unspecified fine suspended. The case was reopened in November.
Daley has a number of convictions as well. In December 2011, he pleaded no contest to vehicle theft. A year later, he was charged with possessing illegal drugs, but the state dropped the single charge.
"Each year hundreds of counterfeit bills are passed in Anchorage causing financial hardship to those who unwittingly accept them as payment," said Kevin Feldis, chief of the criminal division at the U.S. Attorney's Office.