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2 Californians sentenced for counterfeiting scheme in Idaho

Crime Watch

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The following is a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho.

BOISE — This week, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill sentenced two of four defendants who pleaded guilty to passing counterfeit obligations of the United States, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced.

On July 29, Nicole Perez, 34, of California, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for her role in the scheme. On July 30, Equallette Ballesteros, 34, also of California, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison. Both defendants sentenced this week will serve three years of supervised release upon their release from custody.

According to court records, on Jan. 4 and 5, Perez and Ballesteros knowingly passed counterfeit $100 bills at retailers in the Twin Falls area with the intent to defraud the retailers.

The remaining co-defendants, Richard Hernandez, 27, and Matthew Rodriguez-Islas, 22, both of California, are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23, respectively in front of U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and Twin Falls Police Department.