On January 4, 2016, detectives from the Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) began an investigation involving an individual that was purchasing items from local websites, such as “Offer Up” and “Craigslist,” and using counterfeit currency to pay for the items. Detectives had information involving an attempted theft of a Rolex using counterfeit money that occurred in the Bellevue area with the past few days.
With the assistance of the previous fraud victim, detectives listed a Rolex watch on the website “Offer Up”. Almost immediately after posting the advertisement for the watch, an individual contacted and MCTF undercover detective via the undercover phone that had been listed in the add. After speaking with the caller, detectives believed the caller was the same suspect involved in the Bellevue fraud incident. The individual requested information on the Rolex watch that was listed on the “Offer Up” posting. As well, the individual attempted to negotiate a price for the watch, which ended up being $5100.00. The suspect also asked if cash was “ok”. Detectives agreed to meet the purchaser on January 5th.
The purchaser contacted detectives via the phone on January 5th and set up a location to meet and purchase the watch. After phone calls back-and-forth during the day it was agreed that detectives would meet the suspect at a location in the City of SeaTac on Pacific Highway, South. The meeting was set for five o’clock in the bar of a restaurant. At about five-thirty, surveillance units observed two possible suspects arrive in a vehicle, which parked in the parking lot of the restaurant. Eventually, one suspect got out of the car and, after nervously looking around the area, went into the restaurant and met with the undercover detective. Both suspects were very nervous and repeatedly surveilled the area prior to entering the restaurant.
At six o’clock, the suspect made the transaction for the watch with the undercover MCTF detective. SPD uniformed patrol units from the East Precinct, who were assisting MCTF, were called to the scene in marked patrol cars. A SeaTac Police Sergeant who had been notified and was also present at the arrest. The suspect was immediately arrested in the restaurant while the second suspect was arrested in the getaway vehicle, which was parked with the engine running in the lot. Both suspects were taken into custody without incident by patrol officers.
Once they were arrested, the suspects were taken to the East Precinct for questioning. The vehicle was impounded by patrol from the scene. Approximately $5100 in counterfeit currency was confiscated from suspect number one. It appears that these suspects have been doing this scam for awhile, utilizing counterfeit cash, primarily $100 bills and $50 dollar bills, to purchase items on “Craigslist” and “Offer Up.”
After questioning the suspects, it was determined that the suspects were manufacturing the counterfeit money out of a house in Des Moines. A search warrant was written and, with the assistance of Des Moines PD, served on a residence in Des Moines. Detectives seized four printers used to print counterfeit money, two garbage bags full of uncut counterfeit currency , two guns (one reported stolen), and two stolen motorcycles. As well, a third suspect was arrested at the search warrant scene. It also appears the two related suspects may be running a chop-shop out of their home; Des Moines PD, who were on scene with MCTF. All three suspects were booked into the King County Jail.
If there are any other victims out there who sold something on Craigslist or “Offer Up” and received counterfeit cash as payment, please call 206-733-9539. The counterfeit $100 bills have two possible serial numbers on them: HF9499224A or HB53702211G. The counterfeit $50 bills may have the following serial number on it: JF51718003A. There may also be counterfeit $10 bills out there, unknown serial numbers.