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National Guard member Joseph DeAnda gets 18 months in prison for passing fake money in Iraq

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Posted: Monday, August 24, 2009 10:00 pm

A Lodi-based California National Guard member was sentenced Monday to more than a year in prison for passing counterfeit money in Iraq.

Joseph DeAnda, 46, will spend one-and-a-half years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. It is "unlikely" that he will be allowed to remain in the Guard, a military spokesman said Monday.

DeAnda, whose last name is sometimes spelled as "De Anda," pleaded guilty April 27 to passing counterfeit money. He and four other people, including his wife, were initially investigated by Lodi police, and the case was ultimately transferred to federal court.

DeAnda admitted that, between July 2007 and May 2008, his wife sent him fake $100 bills, three of which he used at military stores in Baghdad. His wife, Tami Kishi DeAnda, 41, is still fighting her case and will return to court next month.

They were among five Lodi residents indicted Feb. 5 by a federal grand jury. Clinton Earl Irons, 32, is still fighting his case, while Holly Armada Haworth, 29, and Shelie Louise Radotic, 30, have pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in October.

The investigation, however, had been underway for some time.

In July 2008, Lodi police were called to Lowe's, where surveillance video had captured a man who employees said passed a fake $100 bill. Police recognized the man as Clinton Irons, which helped them get a search warrant for a Scottsdale Road home.

At the home, police said they found fake bills, along with computers that held counterfeiting software. Detective Nick Sareeram began tracking the bills, turning up more of them in casinos and several stores.

The money started adding up, and local police contacted the Secret Service as the trail expanded beyond state lines.

Ultimately, it led them to Baghdad.

Since 2005, law enforcement officers have recovered at least $275,000 in fake $100 bills connected to the ring, prosecutors wrote earlier this month in a sentencing memo.

The bills were originally $5, but a degreaser had been used to wash ink off the bills, which were then run through a laser printer and emerged as $100 bills. Unless someone held a bill up to the light and saw a security stripe reading, "USA FIVE," they looked and felt real.

Much of the counterfeiting happened at a home where Haworth was staying in the 2100 block of Yosemite Drive, according to a plea agreement DeAnda signed April 27.

In asking for a 21-month prison sentence, prosecutors noted that DeAnda had passed fake bills at his local military Post Exchange ("P/X" in military lingo), which is subsidized by taxpayers so soldiers can buy familiar items they can't find overseas.

DeAnda could have faced years in prison, but he struck a deal and agreed to cooperate with the government.

"(DeAnda) has accepted responsibility for his actions and informed the probation officer of his desire to build a more productive life for himself away from drugs and the other corrupting influences that have caused him to engage in the charged behavior in this case," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Reardon wrote in an Aug. 12 sentencing brief.

Prosecutors opposed a sentence consisting solely of probation, in part because DeAnda was far from those influences while he was overseas, but he had continued to be involved in the counterfeit scheme.

DeAnda is scheduled to begin his 18-month prison sentence Sept. 29.

As of Monday, he was still with the Guard with the rank of Private First Class, said Lt. Col. Jon Siepmann.

"Although it's possible for a soldier to be retained (after a conviction), it's unlikely, given an 18-month sentence," Siepmann said.

DeAnda first entered the military in 1983 and served for six years. He later entered the California National Guard in 1995, but Siepmann did not know if DeAnda had been with the Guard the entire time.

DeAnda's Auburn attorney, Dan Koukol, did not return a message Monday.

When DeAnda returned from Iraq, he held the rank of specialist. He was demoted in February, around the same time he was indicted. As of July 2, DeAnda had performed well in the Guard and was recognized as top performing cannon crew in the Battalion, Capt. Valos Owen said in a written statement at the time.

Soldiers do occasionally become incarcerated for minor offenses and are allowed to remain in the Guard, Siepmann said. Each one is handled on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with military lawyers and the base commander, he said.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 5:45 pm on Sat, Aug 29, 2009.


    Mrs S. it was Lowe's that spotted the bills, not the PX in Baghdad.

  • posted at 11:52 am on Thu, Aug 27, 2009.


    Some people want to see the good in everybody. Everybody does have *some* good, but sometimes second chances are just too tempting. I can't imagine the Guard would want him back after a federal crime conviction. Fly Guide sounds like he wants to help, so maybe he can give Deanda and his wife some money for job training and drug rehab. Deanda's still a vet, so that will help him in a job search.

  • posted at 12:49 am on Thu, Aug 27, 2009.


    Flyguide-OMG! Are you actually saying he should STAY in the Guard? Are you insane? This man committed multiple felonies, he is a convited FELON. Some people never cease to amaze.

  • posted at 2:49 pm on Wed, Aug 26, 2009.


    I was wondering there was a Deanda in the gaurd from Galt? are they one in the same? and ar any of the two related to John and Jay, who I went to school with. Thanks By the way, Joseph deserves to stay in the military. He was fighting for us and the strees from being over there multiple times puts post dramatic stress on everyone. Im proud to say he is fighting for us and deserves his military service to continue. He put his life on the line. God Bles you Joseph we all make mistakes. God bless your family, and may we all honor you. If you are in need of funds try asking, we are here to help.

  • posted at 12:37 am on Wed, Aug 26, 2009.


    Trista-Mentioning race doesn't make you a racist. It makes you a realist. When you notice race and use it to further your agenda like you did, that makes you a racist.

  • posted at 12:32 am on Wed, Aug 26, 2009.


    Yes, if this story was about a Mexican it would involve senseless, mindless shooting somewhere. So are we going to actually start to compare White/Mexican crime rate?Just look at the prison population. Or is that biased too?No one mentioned race until the anti-White crowd did. Do you REALLY wanna keep score? Because that's a game you'll lose for sure.

  • posted at 4:29 pm on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    Gee I wonder why race hasnt been brought up...Hmmmm it wouldnt happen to be because everyone in this story is White, would it?? Its nice to know theres non-racist readers here who arent as ignorant as our usual crowd of commentators, now that the tables have turned...

  • posted at 3:22 pm on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    He's "unlikely" to stay in the Guard? Gee, understatement of the year. I can't imagine they'd keep him, unless they got desperate.His dumbest act was probably using the fake bills in Iraq. Maybe he was getting bold because he was getting away with it here in the states. I'm glad he, his wife and the others involved are going down.

  • posted at 1:20 pm on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    4astronglodi, nothing on this blog refered to race until you opened your pie hole. I believe your a racist.

  • posted at 10:35 am on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    Uh oh, we better close the borders to white people so we can keep the crime off our streets!

  • posted at 10:18 am on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    Whoa Nellie!: She was not indicted and wasn't charged.

  • posted at 7:35 am on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    Q: what ever happened to Tami's twin sister who was being investigated for passing these same fake bills? I recall that she said she didn't know they were fake back then- ya, right.

  • posted at 5:26 am on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    You're the man GaltGuy! Good Eye for Detail!

  • posted at 4:19 am on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    Galtguy: Just an explanation on how that happened: I've written about the criminal case for more than a year, but I wasn't working when the feature story happened or I would have recognized the name instantly. His name in that story was spelled "De Anda," so it didn't come up in our archives when the reporter checked to see if we'd written about him. Hence the reason I mentioned both spellings in today's story. Please don't take this as me going on the defense, but just as an explanation.

  • posted at 3:39 am on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    A disgrace to red, white and blue.

  • posted at 12:59 am on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    Here is the link. Nice story LNS. How about NOT doing a feature on a guy who is already being investigated, an investigation that was reported in your own paper. Nice.http://www.lodinews.com/articles/2009/06/22/news/2_soldier_090622.txt

  • posted at 12:52 am on Tue, Aug 25, 2009.


    Boy did Galtguy nail this one or what!!??Remember the entire "what an elisted man gets paid, something's not right here, an e3 makes 48K a year" post?



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