In two separate cases, six men have been arrested, charged and/or convicted of counterfeiting money.
In the first case, the Department of Justice announced a Texas man had recently pleaded guilty for running a counterfeiting ring from a Clay County hotel.
John Thomas Humphreys, 46, pled guilty to the following charges: manufacturing of counterfeit Federal Reserve notes, aggravated identity theft and false representation of a Social Security number.
With his guilty plea, he now faces 25 years or less behind bars in a Federal prison for the false representation and counterfeiting charges along with at least two years of federal prison for the identify theft charge. His sentencing court date is for Oct. 27.
The incident stemmed from a tip the Green Cove Springs Police Department received Feb. 2. The tip stated two people were allegedly counterfeiting Federal Reserve notes in their Astoria Hotel room. These persons were later noted as being Humphreys and another man Joe Eugene Loving.
Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputies ran the names and found they had warrants for parole violations in Texas and arrested them. While being arrested, officers apparently found Loving in possession of a $100 bill.
During the interview, both men admitted they were on the run since a 2014 Texas drug deal. They informed police they had printed and used about $10,000 in fake money, and using others’ identities to print the counterfeit checks.
While searching the hotel room the men were staying at, officers located a box that has personal ID information as well as financial documents for other folks – not Loving or Humphreys. They also discovered a printer/copier/scanner that had counterfeit checks on the top along with counterfeit money and a variety of computer media used to print the counterfeit money.
A third man Paul Pennington Jr. was also charged with using fake money Humphreys and Loving had printed off. Pennington is an Astoria Hotel maintenance worker who lent his computer to the other two men in order to watch movies. However, they used the computer to print off the counterfeit checks. Loving’s trial is set for September 2015.
On July 9, Pennington pled guilty to one count of passing counterfeit money. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 13.
In the second case, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office was able to remove about $2 million in bad checks making rounds in North Florida.
In a years’ joint investigation between eight agencies, four Duval County men were arrested and charged with organized fraud, conspiracy to commit racketeering, racketeering and principle to utter a forged instrument.
The four men - Larry Berard Taylor, 37; Terrance Lamar Smith, 26; Dante Karyn Sumlar, 25; and Donald King Sumlar, 21 – were all arrested after a five-month investigation by the sheriff’s office allegedly found checks were drawn from a St. Johns County intimate account and used throughout North Florida. Each one is in the Duval County Jail, on a $1 million bond apiece.