TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QC, May 24, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The RCMP and US Secret Service, jointly with the Sûreté du Québec, arrested four suspects yesterday and raided six locations in the Trois-Rivières and Drummondville areas, dismantling in the process a criminal organization that had the capability to produce millions of dollars in counterfeit US bank notes and to distribute them worldwide.
The RCMP launched Project "CRANIUM" on the basis of information initially gathered by the Sûreté du Québec's Module d'enquête sur le crime organisé Centre-est as part of their police investigation dubbed Project "GRUE".
During yesterday's round-up operation, the police seized $949,000 in counterfeit US$20 bank notes. They also uncovered a laboratory that was primarily used to add finishing touches, i.e. serial numbers and holographic features, to counterfeit notes.
The RCMP alleges that the counterfeiting ring had the capability to produce very high quality counterfeit bank notes that were basically undetectable to the naked eye. The fake bank notes were printed using an offset press with non-sequential serial numbers, which is rather uncommon in this area of criminal activity.
The investigation also reveals that the counterfeit bills were sold at the price of CA$30 for US$100. Not only is this alleged ring believed to have distributed large amounts of counterfeit bank notes in Quebec, but similar bank notes have also been traced by the US Secret Service in several US cities and in other countries.
Among the four suspects arrested yesterday is 42-year-old Trois-Rivières resident François Bourassa, who appeared in court to face various charges, including production, possession and distribution of counterfeit currency. The other three suspects arrested could also be facing prosecution in Canada or in the United States.
This investigation was conducted by the RCMP Integrated Counterfeit Enforcement Team (ICET) and Sûreté du Québec with the assistance of the US Secret Service. The Trois-Rivières Police Department also took part in yesterday's operation.
The investigation is ongoing to identify other persons who may be involved in the commission of this crime.
Prevention and Detection
Bank note counterfeiting is still a common type of fraud. Counterfeiters use highly sophisticated techniques to frustrate law enforcement authorities, and criminal organizations resort more and more to this type of crime to fund their illegal activities.
Police encourage consumers, cash handlers and retailers to be vigilant to help maintain the integrity of currency. Through prevention, you can help reduce bank note counterfeiting.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police invites citizens to report any information on suspected counterfeit notes to their local police department or to the RCMP Integrated Counterfeit Enforcement Team at 514 939-8319. All information will be treated confidentially.
For further information: