U.K. Print Business was Front for Multimillion Pound Counterfeiting Gang
LONDON—April 6, 2011—Brothers Christian and Phillip Brown, who ran the commercial printing firm, together with Mehmet Altinfincan, were key players in an operation to print and distribute fake £20 notes. To date, notes with a face value of over £17.5 million believed to be linked to the gang have been removed from circulation.
Intelligence gathered by Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) officers led to the Browns’ business on Portland Road, South Norwood, London, and covert surveillance established that it was a front for buying materials needed to produce counterfeit currency.
These included a toner foiling machine and rolls of foil, which, along with a computer containing images of scanned notes, were seized from Altinfincan’s home address after the three were arrested by City of London Police officers. The contents of a shredder were retrieved from Phillip Brown’s home, and analysis of the shredded material revealed counterfeit notes printed on the back of a poster. A memory stick containing images of scanned notes in a print-friendly layout was also discovered.
SOCA’s investigation identified that the three men were part of a wider organized crime gang involved in a range of organized criminal activities. Officers found a full cannabis production facility in Phillip Brown’s home, including 81 plants. Christian Brown was keeping a “business plan” that set out projections for a £100,000 return on every 2-3 month cannabis plant cycle.
Counterfeit one pound coins in varying stages of completion, as well as equipment for forging one and two pound coins, were also recovered. These included a grinding machine, a smelter, a casting machine and gold spray.
Daniel Brown, a cousin of Christian and Phillip, was responsible for distributing fake €50 notes. However, it is not known if the Browns were responsible for producing these notes as well as the £20 notes. A quantity of €50 notes, with a combined face value in the region of €350,000, was recovered from Phillip Brown’s house, and more than €9.3 million-worth of the same series has to date been withdrawn from circulation across the EU.