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Defendant Sentenced to Probation for Using Fake Euros from the Darknet

The Emmendingen District Court recently sentenced a 25-year-old to two years of probation for crimes involving counterfeit currency. This case shares aspects with one we reported on October 21; Bavarian police arrested two men for making and distributing counterfeit euros via the deepweb.

Both men arrested in the Bavarian counterfeiting case, a 22-year-old and a 24-year-old, were discovered by their landlord. The owner of the garage where the men set up a counterfeiting workshop reported unusual activity to the police. Both men were convicted and received varying prison sentences.

However, the 25-year-old from Emmendingen was accused of nearly the inverse. In 2014, the man suffered from a self-admitted drug problem. He ordered drugs from darknet markets in order to sustain his addiction. The orders were for large quantities of unspecified narcotics, the indictment claims.

The man was soon unable to afford to pay rent or buy food. In addition to ordering drugs, he started ordering counterfeit euros. Each 50-euro note was worth 7 euros. This started what Claudio La Malfa, the 25-year-old’s lawyer, called a “dangerous cycle.” The counterfeit euros were used to buy more bitcoin. And in turn, additional bitcoin was used to purchase more drugs and counterfeit euros.

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The defendant fell into legal trouble in December 2014 when he used the counterfeit notes at a supermarket. A cashier was unusually attentive and reported the notes immediately, the police report claimed. She held both fake 50-euro notes as the police arrived. Once they did, the suspect was arrested and taken into custody.

The 25-year-old worked with the police. He admitted to using counterfeit currency in at least nine other instances. Additionally, he told police he had been purchasing them off the darknet. His cooperation was noted by the prosecutor and contributed to the light sentencing.

While in the courtroom, the now-prosecuted man said “I was overwhelmed by the whole situation. Drug addiction has been underestimated by me personally.”

La Malfa, requested a sentence of one year on probation. He argued that his client had made notable changes on a path to recovery. The prosecution asked for two years on probation and a fine of 1,500 euros. Judge Richter Günter Schmalen, the superseding judge, granted the prosecution’s request but did not require the 1,500 euro fine. “The confession raises the matter to another level,” Judge Schmale said.

Judge Schmale said the sentencing took the man’s cooperation into account. He also recognized that the defendant had largely gathered control of his life. At the end, the judge urged the 25-year-old to follow the chosen path of recovery.

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