Captial Heights Man Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Counterfeit Currency

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang sentenced Ricco Darnell Taylor, age 32, of Capital Heights, Maryland to 41 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to pass counterfeit currency and making counterfeit currency.  Judge Chuang has also ordered Taylor to pay $98,000 in restitution.

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge Matthew R. Stohler of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office.

According to his plea agreement, from 2017 to December 2019, Taylor manufactured and passed counterfeit currency with co-conspirators Keara Davis, age 29, of Capital Heights, Maryland; Deon Jones, age 31, of Temple Hills, Maryland; and Tara Simpson, age 52, of Hyattsville, Maryland.  As part of the conspiracy, Taylor manufactured the counterfeit with a printer at his residence, supplied the fraudulent currency to his co-conspirators, and occasionally sold counterfeit currency to others.

During a search of Davis and Taylor’s Maryland residence on March 23, 2018, law enforcement officers recovered several cell phones, three counterfeit $100 bills, various gift cards, receipts from victim retailors, linen copy paper, an HP printer, two shell casings, and a .38 caliber revolver.  According to authorities, the linen copy paper was a type commonly used in counterfeiting operations.  The ink from the counterfeit $100 bills were analyzed by the Secret Service and determined to be indistinguishable from genuine currency.  The .38 caliber revolver was possessed in connection with the counterfeiting operation.

Taylor, along with his co-conspirators, used the counterfeit currency to purchase merchandise at various local retailers and, in some instances, returned items in exchange of genuine currency.  For example, on June 19, 2019, Taylor purchased diapers for $26.49 using a counterfeit $100 bill.  The following day, Taylor returned the diapers, as well as a few items Jones had purchased, in exchange for genuine currency.  In total, the Secret Service recovered eight counterfeit $100 bills used by Taylor and his co-conspirators during the June 19, 2019 transactions, as well as video surveillance and receipts reflecting their criminal activity.

His plea agreement further states that on July 26, 2019 and October 10, 2019, law enforcement officers conducted two traffic stops of a vehicle Taylor was operating.  In both instances, Taylor attempted to flee on foot but was later apprehended.  As a result of both traffic stops, officers recovered a total of 31 counterfeit $100 bills and 27 pages of uncut counterfeit $20 bills displaying three repeating serial numbers.  A subsequent search of Taylor’s cell phone also revealed text messages indicative of passing counterfeit currency.  Taylor’s fingerprints were also discovered on the first three pages of the uncut $20 bills.

In total, Taylor and his co-conspirators are responsible for passing over $95,000 in counterfeit currency.

On June 2, 2021, Davis was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for conspiracy and passing of counterfeit currency.  Co-defendants Simpson, and Jones were each sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for the same charge.  All three co-defendants were also ordered to pay $95,000 in restitution.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner praised the Secret Service for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Morgan and Dana J. Brusca, who prosecuted the case.

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