Secret Service touts huge counterfeiting bust

While most people may have forgotten that the Secret Service originally was created to fight currency counterfeiting, the agency served up a major reminder last week when it announced the biggest seizure of counterfeit currency in its history.

The Secret Service said its agents—along with more than 1,500 officers of the Peruvian National Police—conducted dozens of searches and arrests in Lima, Peru, in the predawn hours of Nov. 15, seizing $30 million in counterfeit U.S. currency.  The agency said that its global investigation of six Peruvian-based criminal organizations resulted in the execution of 54 search warrants, as well as 48 arrests.

According to the Secret Service, Peru is the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of counterfeit U.S. currency.

The final sweep of Operation Sunset, as the investigation was dubbed, also resulted in the shutdown of six counterfeit plants, the seizure of eight counterfeit manufacturing presses, and the confiscation of more than 1,600 printing plates and negatives of various denominations.

As part of its anti-counterfeiting efforts preceding the sweeps, the agency opened a resident office in Lima, offered support and training to the Peruvian National Police, created an anti-counterfeiting task force, and trained Peruvian officers at Secret Service training facilities.

“The Peruvian government has become a valuable partner in our efforts to combat counterfeit currency,” said Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy. “Protecting the nation’s financial infrastructure is a vital component of our integrated mission of protection and investigations.” 

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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