B.C.'s largest-ever counterfeit cash ring has been broken up by police following the arrest of four people and the seizure of $220,000 in fake Canadian and U.S. bank notes, say the RCMP.
The force's Integrated Counterfeit Enforcement Team announced Thursday that a six-month investigation resulted in a May 14 raid on a home on the 8600 block of 151B Street in Surrey, just east of Vancouver.
Inside the home, police found $130,000 in fake Canadian bills and $96,000 in phoney American money, mostly in $50 and $100 denominations.
Richard Thomas McGaw, 30, of Coquitlam and Jesko Stefan Lindt, 49, of Surrey, are facing charges related to the making and possession of counterfeit banknotes and possession of instruments for making counterfeit banknotes.
Two other individuals, age 55 and 28 respectively, were arrested but were later released pending a court appearance.
Major source of phoney cash
Police also seized computers and equipment they believe was used to make counterfeit money being passed in B.C. and across Canada.
According to police, the number of $20 counterfeit bills being passed in Canada increased by 24 per cent between February and March 2009 alone. The use of $50 bills increased by 19 per cent, and $100 bills increased by 15 per cent during the same period.
"I am confident that this counterfeit currency lab take-down will significantly reduce the counterfeit banknotes in B.C. because these increases were predominantly linked back to Mr. McGaw and Mr. Lindt's counterfeit operation," said Sgt. Farahbakhchian, the Counterfeit Co-ordinator for the Federal Commercial Crime Section in B.C..
Police say that since 2004, the overall volume of counterfeit bank notes in circulation in Canada has decreased as a result of upgraded security features.