Posts tagged: Robin Knuttgen
Five of 10 people indicted in a counterfeit money scheme have pleaded guilty, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced today.
Jessica A. Crabtree, 28; Brittney R. Hearn, 24; Robin Knuttgen, 52; Brandy Mueller, age 22; and Melissa A. Smith, 27, faces up to 20 years in prison and three years probation after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court.
The women were involved in a scheme to to bleach real money and reprint the paper with higher denominations. About $5,000 in fake currency was passed. Local businesses and banks alerted the Secret Service to the scheme.
Also charged is Cole T. Monson, the so-called “nemesis of property owners” already in prison for dozens of property crimes, Ronald Dale Mueller; Tawny M. Rhodes, Angela Olveda and Sean Wright.
The suspects were indicted by a grand jury in June.
Crabtree, Hearn, Knuttgen, Mueller and Smith are scheduled to be sentenced in January and March.
“Well-trained merchants are the first line of defense to this form of fraud. Using Secret Service’s training, a merchant can prevent thousands of dollars in losses that end up in the form of higher prices for the rest of us,” U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby said in a prepared statement.
Said Kevin Miller, resident agent in charge of the local Secret Service office said, “Businesses and consumers should be extra vigilant during the busy holiday shopping season. Genuine Federal Reserve Notes have several security features that include small randomly disbursed blue and red fibers embedded throughout the paper, a watermark (similar to the portrait) that is visible from either side of the note when held up to the light, color shifting ink in the lower right-hand corner, and a clear polyester security thread embedded vertically in the paper which is inscribed with the denomination of the note.”
Two Spokane women wanted on federal counterfeit money charges, an Oregon resident sought on a strangulation warrant and a New Mexico fugitive working at a mixed martial arts center in Kettle Falls: Those are among the 174 suspects throughout Eastern Washington arrested this week in a sweep conducted by the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force.
The task force, which started last year and includes Washington, Alaska and Oregon, works with law enforcement to help track fugitives wanted on felony warrants.
Local agencies can submit names of fugitives they need off the streets and contribute an officer to assist in the investigation, said U.S. Marshal Bob Doty, task force supervisor.
“The problem is a lot of them don’t think of us until weeks after they have a fugitive,” Doty said.
The task force organized six teams for the three-day sweep to help raise awareness about the federally funded fugitive-apprehension service.
Of the 174 suspects arrested, 18 were in Spokane County, including Brittney R. Hearn, 24, and Robin Knuttgen, 51, who were indicted by a grand jury on counterfeit money charges.
Other arrests occurred in the Tri-Cities and Yakima regions, and in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, among other places.
The majority of the arrests were on county warrants, Doty said.
Charges included escape, bail jumping, theft, drugs, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Ten people are accused of manufacturing counterfeit money in the Spokane area.
A grand jury in U.S. District Court in Spokane returned an indictment Tuesday alleging four women counterfeited nine $50 bills between May 5 and June 14.
One of the women, Jessica Crabtree, also is accused in a second indictment of cashing a fake $50 bill at the Cricket cellphone store at 21 S. Thierman St. in February 2010.
Investigators believe Cole T. Monson (left), the so-called “nemesis of property owners” already in prison for dozens of property crimes, cashed two fake $100 in February 2010, once at the GTX Truck Stop in Spokane Valley and another at Northern Quest Casino.
Ronald Dale Mueller (right), 44; Brandy Mueller and Robin Knuttgen are accused of manufacturing the bills between Jan. 5 and March 24, 2010.
Brandy Mueller faces five additional counts for allegedly cashing fake $50 bills at Zips and Motel 6 in February 2010; Ronald Mueller, who is already in jail on unrelated drug charges, is charged with cashing two the next month.
Along with Crabtree, Tawny M. Rhodes, Brittney R. Hearn and Melissa A. Smith are charged with manufacturing fake money between May and last week. Rhodes, 39, already is in jail on drug charges.
Knuttgen also faces two additional charges for allegedly cashing fake $50, Angela Olveda, who is already in prison on for theft and drugs, and Sean Wright face one count each.
Manufacturing counterfeit currency and dealing counterfeit currency each carry up to 20 years in federal prison.