Two young men from Stuttgart, Germany were sentenced for ordering counterfeit euro bills from the dark web, however, only one of them has to spend time in prison.
According to the court documents, a 23-year-old defendant was the mastermind of the criminal operation while the other, a 25-year-old man, played only a lesser part in the crimes. Court records detailed that the 23-year-old’s plan was to purchase cell phones with the counterfeit money and sell the devices at the shop of the 25-year-old. However, his plan did not work. Moreover, he brought his friend in the crimes, thus, receiving a prison sentence from the judge, which is not suspended.
The 7th Criminal Court of the regional court found the 23-year-old, the initiator of the crimes, guilty of counterfeiting and fraud and sentenced him to three years and ten months of imprisonment. On the other hand, the 25-year-old, because of his lesser role in the crimes, was sentenced to eight months of parole.
Court documents stated that the younger defendant had been released from a psychiatric clinic in September 2016. Since then, he spent most of his time in the mobile phone shop of the 25-year-old friend in Bad Cannstatt. He had keys along with access to the inbox and to the computer.
In a television broadcast, the 23-year-old had seen how easy to order counterfeit money from the dark web. In January 2017, he decided to purchase fake euro notes from the darknet. He ordered 26 pieces of good quality fraudulent 50 euro bills for a unit price between 11 and 15 euros and sent them to the mobile phone shop of his friend. According to the court documents, the fake euro notes came from a counterfeiting workshop in Carinthia, which the Austrian police busted a few weeks after the 23-year-old’s order. When the 25-year-old received the counterfeit euro notes, he warned his friend that he should leave them and do not put the fake notes into circulation. However, he did the opposite. The 23-year-old went on a shopping trip – first in a drugstore market, then in a wine shop. At a discount shop, his criminal activities were discovered by police officers. However, he ignored the case and continued putting the fake euros into circulation.
After he was caught, he bought smartphones from private individuals, which he paid with the counterfeit fifties. In total, the 23-year-old passed on 33 fake euro bills to the victims. For this, the Court of First Instance ordered the 23-year-old to pay 1,650 euros for the loss of the victims. His profit from the trade totalled 1,000 euros. Court records stated that the 25-year-old did not make any profits from the criminal operation.
The 23-year-old had confessed his crimes before the court, which was positively assessed. His friend had to listen to Judge Rainer Gless, who scolded the 25-year-old for letting himself dragged into the crime.
“You could also say stupidity,” said Judge Rainer Gless.
The 25-year-old had applied for an acquittal. He must pay 600 euros to the victims.