NEWS

Crown says $2M counterfeiter should get 4-year sentence

07/27/2012 10:30 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT
A Vancouver man who produced about $2 million in counterfeit Canadian currency should spend four years in prison, a Crown prosecutor says.

Crown counsel Louisa Winn told B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Friday that Mathieu Flynn was not engaged in an arts and crafts project when he was turning out piles of fake $100, $50 and $20 bills, but was making a determined effort to cheat the country’s monetary system.

Flynn, 24, has already pleaded guilty to 12 counts of counterfeiting. His lawyer argued that although the amount of phony cash was high, the counterfeiting operation was relatively unsophisticated and should net his client a two-to-three-year sentence.

Court was told that the RCMP had Flynn under surveillance since 2010, and once they got a search warrant for his Coquitlam home, they found drawers full of counterfeit money, with some bills still sitting on a colour printer.

Investigators recorded him and his colleagues travelling between a small suite he rented at Germaine's Antiques in the Dunbar area of Vancouver and his house in Coquitlam.

The court also heard that Flynn's fingerprints were found on counterfeit cash seized in Brandon, Manitoba and on Vancouver Island.

"You have before you an offender who has single-handledly managed to create the largest counterfeit seizure in recent case history," the prosecutor told the judge.

Authorities are quick to point out that counterfeiting is not a victimless crime.

“A lot of small businesses have small profit margins. And a counterfeit that goes into their system can be a detriment the Canadian economy and impact the small business,” said Bank of Canada analyst Farid Salji, who also was in the courtroom Friday.

Salji said the Bank of Canada tries to educate businesses about the security features to check for on bills.

“Counterfeiters will not be able to replicate our bills, they will only be able to mimic certain features. And that's what they prey upon to get past certain retailers,” he said.

After his initial arrest in 2010, Flynn was released on bail.

In 2011, Richmond, B.C., police got another tip about counterfeit currency and found Flynn was at work again.

To restart his operation, Winn said Flynn might have copied the very electronic images Crown was obliged to disclose to him in the initial case of counterfeiting.

The sentence could be handed down as early as next week.

MORE:cbcNews