PORTLAND, Maine — A Shawmut man found in July 2011 with $4,000 in fake money stashed in a Doritos Cool Ranch chip bag that matched real money in his pocket was sentenced Monday in federal court to four years and three months in prison.
Anthony E. Almeida III, 29, was found guilty of possession of counterfeit currency by a jury after a two-day trial in June in U.S. District Court in Portland.
U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby on Monday sentenced Almeida to 51 months in prison, to be followed by three years of of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced Tuesday.
“The investigation revealed that Almeida had in his wallet the genuine currency from which several of the counterfeit bills were copied,” Delahanty said in a statement. “In addition, several bills from a batch of counterfeit currency found by the side of the road in Skowhegan a month earlier were also copies of the currency that Almeida had in his wallet at the time of the stop.”
Almeida’s co-defendant, John Martin, 24, of Skowhegan, pleaded guilty March 23 to possessing counterfeit obligations of the United States and was sentenced in July to time served, or about six months in jail, with an additional three years of supervised release.
A man driving on Oak Pond Road in Skowhegan found a pile of loose money on the side of the road on June 28, 2011, and turned over the $5,690 to the Skowhegan Police Department. They gave the money to federal authorities after Martin and Almeida were arrested.
A detective with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department on routine patrol stopped Martin July 5, 2011 on Route 4 in Turner for erratically driving his father’s Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. The chip bag, with $3,970 in fake bills, was found during a search of the truck, and Almeida’s fingerprints later were found on some of the bills, according to court documents.
U.S. Secret Service agents determined that the fake money had matching serial numbers to genuine currency found in Martin’s wallet. Investigators discovered the bills had been manufactured using an inkjet printer, according to the prosecution’s version of events.
BDN reporter Judy Harrison contributed to this article.