YASC: Counterfeiters Send Printer In For Repair For A Paper Jam From Fake Money
West Valley counterfeit money ring busted
Lindsey Collom and Lynn Bui
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 14, 2005 09:24 PM
Authorities on Monday said they have shut down a ring responsible for up to 10 percent of all counterfeit money in Arizona.
A three-month investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office resulted in 10 arrests related to crimes including forgery, weapons violations and narcotics. Authorities expect more arrests. In all, deputies seized in $56,000 in fake money and materials they believe were used to produce the bills, including computers, printers, ink and paper. Officials said the ring produced more than $160,000 in bills, most of which ended up in the U.S. Treasury, banks and other people's pockets.
Investigators said the ring relied on two Wal-Mart employees who used their positions at a West Valley store to put the counterfeit money into circulation.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said ring members would purchase large-ticket items at Wal-Mart using fake $50 and $100 bills. The buyers would then go to another Wal-Mart and return the items for cash.
Authorities wouldn't disclose exactly how the investigation began.
However, investigators did say an Avondale couple arrested in the scheme tripped up when they sent a printer, which was jammed with counterfeit bills, out for repair.
Authorities searched the home of Adrian T. Ayiers and Stacy Ayiers and found drugs, counterfeit bills and money processing equipment.
Ken Huffer, special agent in charge with the Secret Service, said the counterfeit bills were of average quality and flaws were easily detectible.
The bills were made of two sheets of laser-printed paper that had been glued together, he said. More of the counterfeit money could surface in time, Huffer added.
Authorities served six search warrants at undisclosed locations. They also seized firearms, several luxury vehicles and narcotics including methamphetamine, ecstasy, steroids and marijuana.
"While some people may think that counterfeiting money is a white-collar crime, often people involved in it are hardcore criminals," Arpaio said. "That's precisely what some of these people are."
Officials did not release the identities of all 10 people arrested. But Arpaio singled out Adrian, 27, who has prior convictions for narcotics and armed robbery. And Stacy, 26, who is on probation for credit card fraud and identity theft.
Deputies are also looking into Stacy Ayiers' home-based daycare business, which may have violated licensing regulations.
Jewel's Place Day Care operates out of a home in the 10900 block of West Almeria Drive in Avondale. She is currently being held on suspicion of forgery, weapons violations and narcotics.
Officials said nothing tied to the investigation was found at the daycare facility, but neighbor Matt Whitmoyer, 34, said he had been "suspicious of the house for a long time. When they first bought it (several months ago), there were people coming in and out but no furniture going in."
Workers at the business, which was still in operation Monday, shut the door when asked for comment. Parents who picked up their children also declined to comment.
Arpaio said officials from both of the stores involved, which are located at Dysart Road and Interstate 10 and 75th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road, have cooperated with the investigation.
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman would not comment Monday.
We need more stupid criminals like this.