A.L. couple could face federal indictment for allegedly making counterfeit $100s

Published 5:21 pm Thursday, June 23, 2011

An Albert Lea couple was charged Thursday in Freeborn County District Court for making counterfeit $100 bills, but may face a federal indictment, too.

Travis Cameron, 31, and Heather Cameron, 34, face charges for their alleged involvement with a group operating a scheme of manufacturing and dealing counterfeit money in southern Minnesota, including Austin, Albert Lea, Faribaut, Owatonna, Mankato, Owatonna, Northfield, Eagan and Burnsville.

Assistant Freeborn County Attorney David Walker said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has shown an interest in prosecuting the cases, and he anticipates a federal indictment soon. He did not know if the state charges would be dropped if that happens.

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The operation involved mainly washing $5 bills and turning them into $100s. The $5s were sprayed with a solvent — in this case, an oven cleaner. Then an image of a digitally scanned authentic $100 was printed onto the washed bills.

The counterfeit $100s would pass when tested with a counterfeit pen.

Court documents state the Camerons and others allegedly involved would make small-dollar purchases with the counterfeit money at retail stores in exchange for large amounts of change.

During their court appearances Thursday, the Camerons were each approved to be represented by a public defender. Freeborn County District Court Judge Steve Schwab ordered bails of $100,000 for each.

The Camerons are next scheduled to appear in court on July 5.

Manufacturing counterfeit U.S. currency carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.