A counterfeit money ring was busted as a result of an unusual tip from an informant.
Federal agents alleged that four Ohio residents raked in thousands by using fake $50 and $100 notes.
Ultimately, a tip about a man who 'sucks his thumb' helped point federal agents on the right track.
Federal agents busted an Ohio cash laundering ring after following the money and thanks in part to a particularly searing tip from an informant.
Four Ohio residents were federally charged on Thursday with conspiracy to defraud. Federal agents alleged in an affidavit that starting in 2021, they used liquid degreaser to bleach thousands of five- and ten-dollar bill notes, reprinting them with fifty- and one-hundred-dollar denomination notes.
In the affidavit attached to the criminal complaint first reported by CourtWatch, a federal agent described a crucial tip that brought investigators to the vicinity of the money laundering ring in Ohio.
In the affidavit, special agent Michael Dodig alleged that the four people running the ring used thousands of dollars worth of the fake money at hotels, gas stations, and even tried at a strip club before they were caught.
Feds alleged that a confidential source helped identify one of the scheme's masterminds, Nathaniel Lee, and that the confidential source had seen Lee's counterfeiting process in a hotel room, and had purchased fake bills. The informant then pointed agents in the direction of Lee via Facebook, per the affidavit.
In January 2022, the source reached out to the agent again and said that Lee "was manufacturing a lot of counterfeit money in the greater Columbus area," Dodig wrote in the complaint.
The source described Lee as "approximately 38 years old, who sucks his thumb and lives in the Mount Vernon area with his grandmother," per the affidavit.
The charges carry up to a five-year prison sentence.
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