Two Marietta residents are among six defendants facing charges in connection with a counterfeit currency ring authorities say operated from February 2011 until last month.
According to a release from the United States Attorney’s Public Information Office, three of the six—30-year-old Cameron R. Longshore and 27-year-old Ian J. Longshore of Decatur and 35-year-old Kenyada Barrion of Stone Mountain— appeared Monday in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Russell L. Vineyard on counterfeiting charges.
Last month, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against the three men and three others—37-year-old Stacy P. Smith and 63-year-old James C. Kellogg, both of Marietta; and 36-year-old Heath J. Kellogg of Woodstock. The six were charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute counterfeit U.S. currency.
“Counterfeiters cause great economic harm to innocent people and businesses that are not involved in the crime, but are victimized by accepting worthless counterfeit currency,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in Monday’s news release. “This office is committed to aggressively prosecuting counterfeit offenses.”
The indictment alleges that from about Feb. 1, 2011, until the first arrests in the case on Nov. 15, the six defendants conspired to manufacture and distribute counterfeit U.S currency, mainly $50 bills. According to officials and court documents, Heath Kellogg, a self-taught graphic artist, developed a manufacturing process for counterfeit currency. Smith would assist Heath Kellogg with various parts of the manufacturing process, for which both men purchased supplies on various occasions. James Kellogg, Heath’s father, joined the conspiracy after it was under way and assisted with the manufacturing of the counterfeit bills by performing work and storing supplies at his home.
Smith would take custody of the completed counterfeit currency, which was then distributed through a network of individuals. Smith and Heath Kellogg used feedback from their ultimate customers, who passed the counterfeit currency in the community, to refine and improve their manufacturing process over time. The defendants sold the counterfeit currency to customers in exchange for genuine U.S currency, at various discounted rates.
On Aug. 10 and 14, Secret Service agents performed controlled buys of the counterfeit currency using a cooperating defendant, while performing surveillance on the members of the conspiracy. On each occasion, the cooperating defendant purchased counterfeit currency with a face value of $2,000 for $900 in genuine currency. On both occasions, the cooperating defendant arranged to purchase the counterfeit currency by contacting Barrion, who ultimately delivered the counterfeit money. On Aug. 10, Barrion was assisted and accompanied by Cameron Longshore. On Aug. 14, Barrion was assisted and accompanied by Ian Longshore.
On Nov. 15, Secret Service agents executed search warrants at the homes of Heath Kellogg, Smith, and James Kellogg. The searches yielded a variety of physical evidence, including completed and partially completed counterfeit currency, and showed that the manufacturing process for the counterfeit currency was spread over multiple locations. Later that day, Secret Service agents executed an additional search warrant at a storage unit rented by Heath Kellogg, which revealed a large offset printing press the defendants had obtained in order to improve the quality of their counterfeit currency.
During the search of James Kellogg’s home, a revolver and a rifle were recovered. Having previously been convicted of forgery, a felony, he is prohibited from possessing firearms.
The Secret Service reports that counterfeit currency matching the distinctive characteristics of those produced by the defendants totaling over $1 million in face value has been returned to that agency by local police departments, banks and merchants victimized when the counterfeit currency was passed.
“This case exemplifies the negative impact of counterfeit currency to our local and national economy. The U.S. Secret Service, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s office, takes an aggressive approach toward the investigation and prosecution of those who manufacture and distribute counterfeit U.S. currency. We will continue to aggressively pursue anyone who violates the faith and trust citizens have in our financial infrastructure,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office, in Monday’s release.
In addition to the conspiracy charges against Heath Kellogg, James Kellogg, and Smith, the indictment also charges Heath Kellogg and Smith with two counts each of the substantive offense of manufacturing counterfeit U.S. currency, and James Kellogg with one count of that same offense. The indictment further charges Heath Kellogg, Smith and Barrion with two counts each of the substantive offense of distributing counterfeit U.S. currency, and Cameron Longshore and Ian Longshore with one count each of that same offense. Finally, the indictment charges James Kellogg with two counts of possessing a firearm after conviction of a felony.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years of in prison. The manufacturing and distributing counterfeit currency charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years of in prison. The felon in possession charges each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years of in prison. Each of the offenses charged in the indictment is also punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.
This case is being investigated by the United States Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alana R. Black is prosecuting the case.