Woman pleads guilty in $1.6 million counterfeit savings bond scheme

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WASHINGTON — A woman pled guilty to helping process more than $1.6 million in counterfeit Treasury Department Series I savings bonds through financial institutions around the country, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Summer Marie Creech, 45, of Fontana, California, entered a guilty plea Wednesday for conspiracy to make, pass and transfer counterfeit U.S. securities and passing counterfeit U.S. securities. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Creech forged counterfeit bonds using authentic bond numbers and sent them to co-conspirators who used stolen identification to negotiate the forgeries at financial institutions in the Southern District of Texas and other locations, according to the DOJ. The conspirators then split the profits.

The plot occurred over a three-year period, according to Creech’s co-conspirator, Daniel Alan Lewis. Lewis pled guilty May 1 to passing counterfeit bonds through banks in the Houston and Brownsville areas of Texas, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced.

Series I bonds rose in popularity as the country experienced a period of high inflation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since they offer fixed rate and inflation-adjusted variable rate returns, I bonds are considered a safe place to store cash during an inflationary period.

Creech is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20.

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