Two men who created and distributed thousands of dollars in counterfeit $100 bills across the country are expected to plead guilty to using the fake money after they were caught last year in South Dakota, court records show.
Michael Ogden and Marcus Franklin will both plead guilty to passing counterfeit U.S. currency, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison, according to their plea deals. The pair also will be ordered to pay at least $120,700 in restitution to victims in 29 states. It's unclear if the victims refer to people or stores where the money was used.
Ogden, 38, is scheduled to plead guilty Friday at the federal court in Rapid City, while Franklin, 42, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Aug. 30. A third suspect, Mary Autry, has until Sept. 13 to reach a plea deal or she will go to trial on Oct. 1. It's not clear where the group is from, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office has said the trio has ties to North Carolina and Oklahoma.
They were arrested March 6, 2018, in Rapid City and charged with conspiring to manufacture counterfeit currency. Ogden was also charged with passing four of the fake bills at a Target store in Sioux Falls, Franklin with trying to pass two of the bills at the Target in Rapid City, and Autry with using three of the notes at the Rapid City Target.
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Rapid City police identified Franklin through a Target surveillance video after staff reported receiving fake bills, according to a statement from a Secret Service agent. The Secret Service investigates counterfeit currency cases in addition to providing protection for presidents and others.
Police then searched the trio's hotel room and found fake money and the equipment used to create it, according to the statement of factual basis documents signed by Ogden and Franklin. The group created the fake $100 bills by bleaching genuine $10 bills and printing the image of a $100 bill on top of the $10 bills.
Investigators searched the group's computers and found they had been using four serial numbers on the fake money for at least three years, the documents say. The Secret Service was able to use the serial numbers to trace the bills and find victims.