08/02/2019

Seven Sentenced Over £1m Counterfeit Currency Operation

Seven men have been sentenced for their part in a counterfeit currency scam that produced over £1 million of fake notes.

The culprits from Belfast, Carryduff and Newtownabbey were sentenced at Laganside Magistrate's Court on Thursday 07 February after a police investigation was launched following reports of multiple counterfeit notes used in shops in Ballynahinch.

Gareth Gorman, 28, Andrew Eric Johnston, 46, and Mark Johnston, 47, were convicted of counterfeiting with intent to use. Mark Johnston was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, half to be served in custody and half on licence. Andrew Eric Johnston was handed 15 months imprisonment, half to be served in custody and half on licence. Meanwhile, Gareth Gorman was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for three years.

Four other men from Belfast were convicted of possessing and tendering counterfeit currency. Samuel Terence Horner, 49, James Wallace Titley Robinson, 25, Alan Thompson, 27, and Norman Charles Titley, 35, were sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for three years
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The charges against them came after searches of a vehicle and four properties which uncovered stamps, dyes, foils, false security features and other materials required to produce fake currency as well as counterfeit notes.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson said: "This was a complex police investigation.

"I welcome today's sentencing of these seven men. This was a sophisticated counterfeiting operation which manufactured over £1 million of counterfeit Sterling and Euro bank notes. Not only does the manufacture of counterfeit currency adversely affect economic growth, it has a negative impact on the genuine local businesses who don't receive payment for their goods. In addition, profits made from manufacturing fake notes may fund further criminal activity. 

"Today's success demonstrates our commitment to disrupting and dismantling criminal enterprises and I want to thank the National Crime Agency's Counterfeit Currency Unit for their assistance with this case. I'd also like to remind business owners and employees to be vigilant when handling money and look out for fake notes in order to protect their business.

"If you have any information about counterfeit notes please contact 101 or alternatively you can provide information anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."



(JG/CM)

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