Peru Busts Counterfeit Bill-Exporting Ring

By Dialogo
April 19, 2013

A ring that produced counterfeit U.S. dollars that were later shipped to the United States, Europe and other countries in the region, was dismantled by the Peruvian police, who seized 15 million in counterfeit banknotes ready to be sold abroad, the chief of police reported on April 17.

“This is the largest organization dedicated to this illegal activity captured so far,” chief of the Peruvian Police Fraud Division, Colonel Segundo Portocarrero, told AFP.

The officer said that the seized dollars were to be sent to “France, Spain, Italy, the United States, Argentina, among other countries.”

Two people that belonged to the family gang – one of them identified as Wilfredo Cobos de la Cruz -, were arrested during the operation, in which one million Euros (1.31 million dollars) and 12 million Peruvian soles (4.6 million dollars) were also seized.

Cobos has three siblings living in Spain, France and Italy, where high quantities of counterfeit bills were sent, according to a police report.

“We have coordinated efforts with European Police departments in order to find those who operate in the countries involved,” Portocarrero added.

The chief of police stated that the seized banknotes came from illegal activities carried out for a month and a half, and that the gang had been operating for over a year, according to statements from the detainees.

Although one million counterfeit Euros were found, it is estimated that “a much higher amount” was printed in recent months and is circulating in European countries.

Peru is among the main countries that produce counterfeit banknotes in Latin America, according to the Police.

It is estimated that a high amount of counterfeit money is already circulating in the Peruvian capital and main cities, managed and offered by numerous money exchangers at a better exchange rate than banks.

In 2012, a dozen counterfeiting gangs were dismantled by the Peruvian Police Fraud Division that also seized over 20.8 million dollars and 5.5 million Euros (7.21 million dollars) in counterfeit money.