Two men from Schärding, Austria and Ried, Austria were sentenced to prison for ordering counterfeit euro bills from the darknet and putting them into circulation to finance their narcotic addiction issues.
According to police information, the two suspects, in order to finance their lives, and above it all, their drug addictions at least for a short time, ordered 50 pieces of 50 euro banknotes from the dark web. They paid using bitcoins and 2,500 euros worth of counterfeit bills cost them a total of 300 euros.
The 25-year-old man from the district of Schärding and the 30-year-old from the district of Ried were responsible for the crime of acquiring and possessing counterfeit or falsified money, and the offense of illicit involvement in narcotic-related crimes before the Regional Court of Ried. According to the criminal laws of Austria, both suspects could be punished with up to five years of imprisonment.
According to the accusation, the two previously convicted and unemployed men had always put just a few of the counterfeit 50 euro bills in circulation in various shops in order to buy low-priced products and get back genuine notes as change. The small illicit operation of the two suspects went well for a relatively long time. Police reported that the duo put more than 40 of the 50 banknotes to circulation. According to Alois Ebner, the spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office in Rüdesheim, there were indications against unknown offenders after the defendants used the fake 50 euro notes. After thorough investigations conducted by law enforcement authorities, on January 23, 2017, investigators arrested the two convicted criminals.
In court, the two defendants basically confessed. With the profits they made with the exchanged banknotes, they would have bought narcotics from the Czech border area, police information said. Law enforcement did not disclose whether the duo sought to order drugs from the dark web, or they used traditional methods to acquire the substances. However, since the two defendants used the dark net to purchase the counterfeit 50 euro notes, they possibly tried to order the drugs from the dark side of the internet too.
Judge Claudia Lechner sentenced the 25-year-old defendant to 15 months of unconditional imprisonment. In addition to that, the three conditionally imposed months, which were recommended by the defense, were canceled. The second defendant must spend a total of 14 months (one-year imprisonment and two months of rehabilitation) behind bars. The imposed sentences are currently legally binding.
Both in Germany and Austria, more and more persons are arrested or convicted for buying counterfeit euros from the dark web. Fake euro vendors offer the falsified bills for a portion of the “real price”, for example, 20% of the original price. Mostly, darknet users see the profit margin, and some of them choose to buy the bills. However, most of the time, the buyers are arrested because the counterfeit euro notes are bad quality.