Darknet Bust: Two Used Counterfeit Euros in Bavaria

euros under inspection
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In Lower Franconia (Unterfranken), Aschaffenburg police arrested a Bavarian duo for circulating €1000 ($1,270) in counterfeit euros from the darknet. The police investigation began in late November when one of the men paid his tab to a hotel staff member with a keen eye. Federal Police caught his accomplice shortly after that as he paid for a train ticket to Kahl am Main (Kahl a.Main).

The first man, an 18-year-old from Aschaffenburg, spent the fake €50-notes throughout Aschaffenburg. For the most part, police believe, he—along with his accomplice—used the notes at fast-food restaurants and Christmas shopping markets. On November 25, police arrested the man with notes in his possession. They immediately received a search warrant from the prosecutor’s office in Aschaffenburg. Upon searching his residence, police found more fakes. The joint press release by the Lower Franconia police headquarters and the Aschaffenburg Prosecutor explained the “provisions” found during the search. Press Release.

counterfeit eurosOne day later, the 21-year-old accomplice of the first suspect, paid for train tickets in Kahl a.Main, a municipality in Lower Franconia, Aschaffenburg. He, like his younger partner, used a counterfeit €50-note. The 21-year-old took the Deutsche Bahn (The German Railway) from Aschaffenburg to Kahl a.Main—where few non-crucial stops exist. The Federal Police (Bundespolizei or BPOL) concerned themselves with the possibility of even more counterfeit currencies in major circulation. Many of the potential stops were Munich or Frankfurt, both with massive cash flow.

The Federal Criminal Investigation Office (Bundeskriminalamt or BKA) released a report that revealed the drastic increase of fake currency from 2014. Officials said that a total 85,000 counterfeit-related cases in 2015—a 42 percent increase from 2014’s reported cases. Also, BKA authorities removed 112,000 counterfeit euros from circulation in 2015. The number of counterfeit bills in circulation rose by 48 percent from 2014. The darknet received credit for the majority of the false notes, unsurprisingly.

Because of the increased paranoia from German authorities regarding counterfeit cash circulating, The Federal Police, when needed, step in and offer assistance to State Police. In this case, the Aschaffenburg police requested assistance from BPOL. In addition to providing ground, air, water, border, and cyber policework, BPOL offers transportation support for airports and railways. Furthermore, BPOL and Deutsche Bahn formed a partnership in 2002. To no surprise, the Federal Police arrested the 21-year-old with no apparent difficulty. He confessed on the spot and had no additional notes on his person. Officers jailed him at his home district.

The Investigation Into Aschaffenburg’s Counterfeit Euros:

The prosecutor gave Aschaffenburg police officers a search warrant for the 21-year-old’s home on December 2. They made no mention of evidence, if any, found at his home. Officials wrote that the Criminal Investigation [Office] took over the investigation once both men were in custody. The announcement made no mention of the particular criminal investigation office. (LKA would be customary, but BPOL was already involved)

Investigations revealed that the men bought the counterfeit euros from a darknet marketplace—how they made this discovery remains unknown. However, the press release noted that investigators interrogated both men. Furthermore, the forensic investigators compared the men’s counterfeits against notes previously pulled from circulation in Aschaffenburg. Michael Zimmer, the press speaker, said the comparison hardened the case against both men; the notes already captured matched those from the suspects.

The Prosecution charged the 21-year-old for the transport of counterfeit currency using the road or railway. Additionally, both men will serve a minimum prison time of one year. Last month, a Gelshausen district court judge sentenced another German for the same crime—buying and spending counterfeit euros from the darknet

The announcement from Michael Zimmer, the Aschaffenburg press speaker, can be found here. (.mp3)

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