Florence duo admits to counterfeit cash scheme

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Two Florence residents admitted in federal court to operating a counterfeit cash operation that spanned multiple states.

A press release from United States Attorney Beth Drake says Shanteley Latrice Howard, 33, and Kermit Lee Smith, 29, both of Florence, pled guilty in federal court Friday morning. Howard pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and pass counterfeit money, and Smith pled guilty to conspiracy to pass counterfeit money.

Evidence presented in court showed that Howard and Smith were involved in an operation that produced counterfeit $100 and $50 bills that were used in multiple states, including South Carolina and North Carolina.

The release says the fake cash ring started in 2015 and included at least nine other people other than Howard and Smith. During the search of a Florence home, agents seized an Epson Workforce printer and a genuine $100 “parent note,” both of which belonged to Howard and were used to print counterfeit $100 bills, according to the release.

Officials say more than one thousand counterfeit $100 bills with the same serial number as this “parent note” were passed during the course of the conspiracy.

The bills were spent in several businesses throughout Florence and other locations in the state, including a grocery store in the Upstate. Drake stated the maximum penalty Howard and Smith can receive is a 5-year jail sentence and a fine of $250,000.

The judge will impose sentences after he has reviewed the presentence reports which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

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