According to the German media outlet noz.de, one of the biggest procedures started on April 24 before the District Court of Osnabrück against counterfeiters in the country. The prosecutor’s office in Osnabrück accused two 24-year-old men from Emsland, together with an unknown third person who is currently under investigation, of the production of more than 7,500 fake 50 euro notes, and with the distribution of counterfeit currencies over the internet.
For a period of one year, from September 2015 to September 2016, the duo allegedly printed, cut, further “refined”, and sold the counterfeit bills to the customers. The two criminals allegedly started their operation from the apartment of one of the defendants, however, later on, they rented a farmhouse in the county of Bentheim for their criminal activities. The whole thing worked “as in a normal company,” one of the defendants (defendant B) admitted. Court documents stated that the two 24-year-olds when finished with the counterfeit notes, they distributed the bills on darknet marketplaces or forums.
In contrast to the other defendant (defendant A), the other suspect (defendant B) had opted for a comprehensive confession. In return, the court, the defense, and the prosecution had reached an agreement. According to the plea deal, the accused should be imprisoned for at least three years and nine months, and at most four years and three months. The prosecution and the defense reached an agreement before the evidence against the two suspects were read before the court. Defendant A (the one who did not confess his crimes) could not agree to a deal with the other participants on the first day of the trial and made no further statements.
According to defendant B, the counterfeiting operation had a third, unknown person, who also participated in the crimes they allegedly committed. Defendant B described the situation in his confession. According to him, the duo had known the third suspect on a forum located on the dark side of the internet, which the 24-year-old described as it was often used for criminal purposes. The three suspects made an agreement, in which they discussed their criminal operation. According to defendant B, the unknown suspect informed the two 24-year-olds how many notes he needed from them, and the delivery address where the duo should have sent the bills. After that happened, the third suspect sent the corresponding print orders from his computer to the printers located at the headquarters of the duo.
“For these, in return, he wanted the notes, four per DIN A4 page, then appropriately further processed, packed in envelopes and sent by post to the predetermined addresses,” defendant B confessed. The suspect emphasized that only the unknown third party had an influence on how many notes were produced because only he had the possibility to start the print orders by remote access to the computer of the defendants. Defendant B also added that it was him who had given them the delivery details of the customers.
“For the individual orders, it was sometimes individual pieces, sometimes small quantities, sometimes larger quantities,” the accused continued his confession. According to him, the quality of the counterfeited 50 euro notes, which were delivered to the customers was also different. It ranged from simple to high-quality. The defendant explained to the court that there were five quality levels, and the notes were delivered to the customers’ requirements.
“How much money we would have received for the individual bills, I could no longer understand,” defendant B said. In total, he admitted that he had received around 20,000 euros in bitcoins over the period of one year (while the counterfeiting operation was running).
According to the court documents, law enforcement authorities discovered the counterfeiting operation by a coincidence. Defendant A allegedly produced marijuana in the country where the workshop was running, and when investigators searched his house, they also discovered that he was counterfeiting euro bills there too. According to the police information, defendant A sought to sell the marijuana on the dark web too.