A 42-year-old man charged with running a high-end counterfeit money scheme was hauled into a New York courtroom on Wednesday (July 27) after being extradited from Malaysia.
Louay Ibrahim Houssein was arrested in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia in 2014 on charges of making fake U.S. currency. According to a report from Courthouse News, Houssein was being investigated as part of a long-term undercover investigation that lasted for years. The defendant is charged with selling thousands of dollars of counterfeit money to a Secret Service agent who was pretending to be part of a New York-based crime group. Houssein is charged with selling close to $150,000 in fake $100 bills that were of a high quality. The alleged criminal also sold $150,000 in fake euros. His co-conspirator is Nazer A-Shekh Mosa aka Mohammed Hasan Haidar, a Syrian national. A third, U.S.-based co-conspirator, Moufak Al Sababi, was also arrested in relation to the incident.
“The men were part of an international criminal network that sells counterfeit U.S. currency around the world, and claim to have as much as $800 million in high-quality fake money for sale to clients in Iran and elsewhere,” prosecutors said. The three were also accused of making offers to obtain weapons, drugs and fake money to the undercover agent, claiming they can access it through U.S. ports.
“The reliability of U.S. currency is a pillar of the global financial system,” U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said in announcing the extradition. “[They] exploited that reliability and threatened the stability it provides, all to serve their own greed.”
While counterfeit money is a big problem, it’s not the only area where law enforcement is battling the bad guys. They also have to contend with global crime rings dealing in fake products. According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation And Development) the value of the international counterfeit good market was around $250 billion in 2007. The more pessimistic International Chamber of Commerce clocked that figure in at $650 billion in 2008 — and estimated that by 2015 that value would have swelled to $1.7 trillion.