EAST ST. LOUIS — A 35-year-old Florrisant, Missouri, man has pleaded guilty in federal court to using counterfeit money to purchase used vehicles, one of which he bought from a person in Sandoval.
According to James L. Porter, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Lewis Johnson pleaded guilty in
federal court to Conspiracy to Possess and Pass Counterfeit United States Currency.
Sentencing has been set for March 31, 2016, in United States District Court in East St. Louis. At sentencing, Johnson will face up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to 3 years of supervised release.
During his plea hearing, Johnson admitted that he along with several others, had engaged in an agreement to manufacture counterfeit United States Currency and then use the currency to buy vehicles with counterfeit currency and then resell the vehicles for genuine United States currency.
During August of 2013, the group contacted a person in Sandoval who had listed his vehicle for sale on Craigslist. Johnson, along with the other conspirators then met with the seller in Sandoval, Illinois, and purchased the vehicle for $2,400 in counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Notes.
Johnson and others involved in the conspiracy were arrested a short time after the fraudulent purchase by law enforcement from Carlyle, Clinton County and Sandoval.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Carlyle and Sandoval Police Departments, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ranley R. Killian.