Two Las Crucens plead guilty in counterfeit money scheme

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Federal officials say 36-year-old Andrew Barnett and 36-year-old Summer Provencio, both of Las Cruces, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to create and pass counterfeit U.S. currency.

Barnett and Provencio, along with 41-year-old Victoria Perez and 33-year-old Patrick Fernandez, were charged in a 183-count indictment filed on February 15, 2017. 

According to the indictment, Perez and Fernandez used the counterfeit currency to make purchases on May 8, 2016 in Dona Ana County.

On April 10, 2017, Barnett pled guilty to conspiracy, allegedly admitting that from April 2016 through Sept. 2016, he conspired with his co-defendants to manufacture and use counterfeit U.S. currency. 

According to his plea agreement, on April 18, 2016, Barnett created eight counterfeit five-dollar bills by scanning a real five-dollar bill and printing copies on a home printer. 

Federal officials say Barnett gave the counterfeit bills to Provencio, who used the bills to pay for hair and nail products at a Las Cruces beauty supply store. 

On May 8, 2016, Barnett created about 125 counterfeit $20 bills by printing copies on a home printer; this counterfeit currency was used to make purchases at a Las Cruces auto salvage business, officials added.

Provencio also pled guilty today to the conspiracy count of the indictment, and admitted that on April 18, 2016, she used eight counterfeit five-dollar bills created by Barnett on a home printer to make a purchase at a Las Cruces beauty supply store.

Barnett and Provencio each face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

Perez and Fernandez have entered not guilty pleas to the charges in the indictment.

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