A 13-member counterfeit ring, responsible for the production of over $86 million in counterfeit U.S. currency, has been taken down by the United States Secret Service. The last two defendants named in the scheme pleaded guilty last week to RICO conspiracy involving multiple acts of counterfeiting U.S. currency and money structuring. Two other co-conspirators of the 13 are Rego Park and Forest Hills residents.
The criminal enterprise involved the production, sale, and distribution of high-quality counterfeit $50 and $100 Federal Reserve notes. The Secret Service first detected the well-designed $100 in 1999. Since that time, over $86 million of this particular note has been seized globally. In addition, the crime ring was in the process of counterfeiting the “new” $100 note released in October 2013, including certain security features such as watermarks, security threads, and blue 3-D ribbons. According to the Secret Service, this new $100 is much more difficult to simulate, and there has not yet been a significant occurrence of its counterfeiting.
Queens does happen to be a focus for the agency right now, owing to nearby airports and the fact that a large portion of counterfeit is manufactured overseas, then brought in bulk to the United States. Additionally, in Queens, there are high populations of many of the groups known to be producing counterfeit overseas. Counterfeit produced in the United States is most frequently $20 Federal Reserve notes, while $100s are more commonly manufactured overseas.