Kingsport Times News Saturday, November 22, 2014

Crime Local News

Kingsport man pleads guilty to counterfeiting

April 22nd, 2014 10:27 pm by Matthew Lane

Kingsport man pleads guilty  to counterfeiting

JORDAN JOHNSON

KINGSPORT — A Kingsport man involved in a five-person counterfeiting scheme has agreed to plead guilty to the crime.

Jordan Johnson, 20, of Kingsport, appeared in U.S. District Court in Greeneville Tuesday morning for a change of plea hearing. Judge Leon Jordan accepted the guilty plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Aug. 19.

Johnson faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In February, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Johnson; Shannon Hawkins, 21; Tyler Monroe, 18; Ruben Suarez, 20; and Kayla White, 21, all of Kingsport.

The charges include conspiracy to defraud the United States and possessing counterfeited obligations.

The indictments stem from a joint investigation conducted by the Kingsport Police Department and U.S. Secret Service.

According to the plea agreement, Johnson admits that he was involved in a scheme with the other defendants and that, beginning in November 2012, the five conspired to obtain the necessary equipment and materials to produce counterfeit $5 and $20 bills.

Prosecutors say Johnson used a variety of residences, including motel rooms, to manufacture the counterfeit money and passed the money at various retail businesses for purchases or to exchange the fake bills for real ones.

In July 2013, the plea agreement states, Johnson stole ink cartridges and purchased a scanner, paper and other equipment to make the fake bills. The counterfeit money was also used in illegal drug trafficking, court records state.

Johnson was arrested by the Kingsport Police Department in July 2013 on an armed robbery charge. In his possession was $1,190 in counterfeit money.

Johnson admits to counterfeiting between $5,000 and $10,000 in fake bills.

Prosecutors say that in January 2013, the defendants used various electronic equipment to produce the counterfeit money and discarded some of the associated materials in a trash can at the Valero gas station on Lynn Garden Drive.

Court records state that in July 2013 the defendants attempted to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a Fastop Market in Pigeon Forge.

Suarez, Hawkins and White have been located by authorities and have not entered guilty pleas to the charges. Monroe has not been located, and the Kingsport Police Department and the Secret Service are requesting that anyone with knowledge of his location contact the KPD at (423) 229-9111.

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