A.L. counterfeiters sentenced to 1 year federal prisonPublished 5:08pm Tuesday, February 21, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS — An Albert Lea couple was sentenced for their role in a counterfeiting ring on Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Judge Ann D. Montgomery sentenced Travis Allen Cameron, 31, and Heather Ann Cameron, 34, to one year in prison each for counterfeiting U.S. currency.
The couple was indicted on Aug. 2, 2011. Travis Cameron pleaded guilty on Oct. 24, 2011, and Heather Cameron pleaded guilty on Oct. 27, 2011.
In her plea agreement Heather Cameron admitted to chemically washing, or bleaching, $5 bills and reprinting them as $100 bills. Both Camerons said in their plea agreements that from May through June of 2011, they produced altered bills, which were sold for about 50 cents on the dollar.
Following the sentencing, Louis Stephens, the special agent in charge of the local office of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Secret Service, said the defendants used a relatively sophisticated means of counterfeiting.
“They used a process commonly referred to as ‘bleaching notes,’” Stephens said. “While this process consumes time and requires some expertise, it enables the counterfeiters to print fake Federal Reserve notes on genuine currency paper, which increases the likelihood it will be successfully passed.”
Stephens also said the defendants were “prolific” in passing the currency over a widespread area in Minnesota, including businesses in the Twin Cities, Hennepin County, Rice County, Freeborn County and Blue Earth County.
The couple was indicted along with six co-defendants who received the following sentences:
• Meranda Lynn O’Connor, 29, of Albert Lea, was sentenced on Jan. 24 to three years of probation on one count of uttering altered currency. She pleaded guilty to the charge on Oct. 20, 2011, admitting that between Dec. 21, 2010, and Jan. 1, 2011, she knowingly passed altered currency at businesses in Bloomington and Burnsville.
• Eric Michael Dorman, 34, of Fairmont, was sentenced Jan. 23 to three years and one month in federal prison on one count of counterfeiting. He pleaded guilty Oct. 20, 2011, admitting that between May and June of 2011, he produced altered bills to be passed at retail businesses for the purpose of obtaining actual currency and goods.
• Sarah Ann Wood, 27, of Owatonna, was sentenced to four months federal prison on Jan. 23 for one count of uttering altered U.S. currency. She pleaded guilty Oct. 24, 2011, admitting that on May 18 and May 22, 2011, she knowingly used altered currency at five Mankato businesses.
• Vincent Dwayne Tampio, 33, of Faribault, was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Jan. 24 on one count of counterfeiting. He pleaded guilty Oct. 20, 2011, admitting that from May to June of 2011, he produced altered bills to be passed at retail businesses for the purpose of obtaining actual currency and goods.
• Dustin David Hanson, 35, of Northfield, was sentenced to four months federal prison on Jan. 19 on one count of uttering altered currency. He pleaded guilty Oct. 14, 2011, admitting that on June 16, 2011, he knowingly used altered currency at a Rochester business. The altered currency was washed $5 bills reprinted as $100 bills.
• Daniel Jay Wilson, 27, of Owatonna, was sentenced to one year and one day of federal prison on Jan. 13 on one count of uttering altered currency. He pleaded guilty Sept. 14, 2011. Unlike his seven codefendants, Wilson did not enter a plea agreement.
The case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the South Central Drug Investigations Unit and the Rice County Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford B. Wardlaw.