Counterfeit Scam Includes Bust of NJ Printing Plant
WASHINGTON, DC—An international counterfeiting ring—which included a printing plant in Cherry Hill, NJ—has been given the unofficial distinction of operating the most prolific scam ever perpetrated against U.S. currency.
The ring, which was busted in May, is responsible for producing in excess of $77 million in fake $100 bills since its inception in 1999, including $32 million passed or seized in the United States since 2005. Much of the phony loot was cranked out in Israel, but this past January, the New Jersey plant was enlisted. A total of 13 arrests have been made in connection to the counterfeiting ring, and they have been charged with racketeering and other offenses.
The operation was invaded by authorities, which used flash grenades and heavily armed officers to storm the building, according to the Courier-Post. Witnesses told the newspaper that they saw "high-tech" printing equipment carted off by the authorities. Uncut sheets of $100 bills, known to the Secret Service as C-23332, were found inside a warehouse unit.
Among the seized equipment were two offset presses and approximately 20 printing plates bearing the U.S. Treasury seal, serial numbers and the 100 numeral in color-shifting ink, the Courier-Post reported, citing the indictment.
Federal prosecutors charge that Itzhak Loz and Ronen Fakiro purchased the warehouse unit in January and had printing equipment shipped there from Israel a month later. The move to New Jersey was apparently in an effort to reduce operating costs.
Two accused members of the ring, Boaz Borohov and his wife, Ofra Borohov—both from Tel Aviv, Israel—were arrested May 28 in the New Jersey raid. Loz and Fakiro, who were taken into custody in New York City that same day, are alleged to have stashed $2.5 million in bogus Ben Franklins in a storage facility in Rockville Centre, NY. Also found was $95,000 in real cash.
The indictment was announced Aug. 7 by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.