A 35-year-old from Sigmaringer, Germany ordered counterfeit 20-euro notes on the darknet and used the notes in local shops and stores. The court sentenced him to one year and three months on a suspended sentence. The man admitted that he had purchased and spent the counterfeits more than one year ago.
Police in Sigmaringer learned of the counterfeit notes after one of the defendant’s relatives used the note at a shop where the shop attendentants easily noticed the imperfections in the note. The court heard how the notes were of some of the poorest quality that law enforcement had ever seen. According to the prosecution, even the size of the fake euros made them stand out. They were much larger than their real counterparts. The defendant told the court that, for that reason, he had attempted to use the counterfeits during the evening. He said that he learned this tactic from the counterfeiters behind the note production.
On the darknet, he said, he found counterfeit note sellers that also provided advice on passing the notes off in public. He said that he paid 80 euros for 10 20-euro notes. Compared to other counterfeit cases covered by DeepDotWeb, these vendors charged a little less than what counterfeit note vendors charged during 2017. The low quality of the notes is likely the reason for the low price. The defendant told the court that he paid the vendor in bitcoin.
The judge asked the 35-year-old why he had purchased and used the fake euro notes. In response, the defendant said that he “was curious to try it out.” He explained that another motivation was his financial state at the time of the crime. He lived off unemployment benefits and a pension. After his rent payment, he had only 400 euros left every month. From that, he had to pay other bills. On top of the standard bills, the defendant also owed child support for children from a previous relationship.
He also admitted that he had spent nine of the counterfeit notes while living in Sigmaringer. With one, he purchased a ticket. With another, he bought a meal at a restaurant. Seven other notes went to meals he had delivered to his house. He explained that he ordered food at night so the delivery person would not easily see the poor quality of the note. The police spoke with one recipient of the counterfeit notes who said that “in daylight you would have recognized the counterfeit money immediately.”
“The 10 notes do not change the world,” the defendant’s lawyer said. He asked the court for a minor sentence of six months. The prosecution asked for one year and six months, suspended upon completion of probation. The court decided upon a suspended sentence of one year and three months.