Author Topic: The 16 Million Dollar Counterfeiter  (Read 1964 times)

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Offline chrisild

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The 16 Million Dollar Counterfeiter
« on: September 25, 2010, 04:50:01 PM »
Do you remember the Sixteen Million Dollar Man? Three years ago in Germany, two men from Cologne, NW were sentenced because they had printed lots of counterfeit US dollars, with a total "face value" of $16m. The head of the "gang", Jürgen (or Hans-Jürgen) Kuhl, got a six year sentence. He is still in prison but can now go to work outside. Why do I write about this now? Because a book about his case has just been published in Germany.

Flashback - the following is from a message that I wrote elsewhere three years ago, in November 2007:

Two men who had counterfeited US dollar notes worth about 16.5 million were sentenced in Cologne, NW last week. This is the highest amount of fake dollar notes ever found in Europe, and the second highest worldwide.

Last year a worker at a garbage dump found lots of shredded dollar notes in plastic bags - and in one of the bags there was also an envelope with the address of a graphic artist and fashion designer in Pulheim near Cologne. The police investigated and finally found, six months ago, the counterfeited notes. These shredded ones had been produced at an earlier stage and were not that good. The newer ones, however, apparently were pretty high quality counterfeits - not sold yet but still in a garage and a storage room.

They had tried postal stamps first, and also €50 notes. Both turned out to be too difficult, or not profitable enough. So they decided to make US dollars, primarily $50 and $100 notes.

On Thursday the court in Cologne sentenced the artist to six years, his accomplice got three years. On one hand there was the quality and quantity of the "notes", on the other hand the artist had made a comprehensive confession. And the reason? The man made part of his money by selling pop art prints (Warhol style) and his printing machines had been so darn expensive that he thought he could use for something else too ...


Some articles about the case:
(German, 8 Nov 2007) http://www.handelsblatt.com/unternehmen/strategie/rentner-druckten-16-millionen-dollar-falschgeld;1348853
(English, 8 Nov 2007) http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/138877.html
(German, 9 Nov 2007) http://www.welt.de/welt_print/article1345720/165_Millionen_Dollar_gefaelscht_Sechs_Jahre_Haft.html
(German, 7 Jul 2008 - long article) http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,564068,00.html
(German, 28 Aug 2010 - fairly long too) http://www.ksta.de/html/artikel/1282655213012.shtml

Now the journalist Christoph Gottwald has published a book about Jürgen Kuhl:
http://www.dumont-buchverlag.de/sixcms/detail.php?template=buch_detail&id=6994

I just bought the book; have not read it yet. What makes the story so interesting in my opinion is the background: Kuhl apparently considered the whole counterfeiting job to be an artistic challenge. He wanted to make something as perfect as possible. On the other hand, the gangsters were rather amateurish regarding how their "dollars" could be turned into real money (which is also why they had not sold a single fake note). And that he got "trapped" by an attractive woman who then turned out to be a secret service agent ...

Christian

Offline Ukrainii Pyat

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Re: The 16 Million Dollar Counterfeiter
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2010, 03:32:29 AM »
I read a similar account of a couple of counterfeiters in the United States that seemed to have had pattern of it becoming a challenge - not so much the money making effort - but making something that was convincing to most that became the modus operandi of their pursuit.

They got caught because they got so good that they let down their guard and started selling the counterfeits out of established crime syndicates and giving them to relatives to spend etc. 
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