A Lodi man who manufactured more than $277,000 in counterfeit money was sentenced Tuesday to 2 1/2 years in federal prison.
Clinton Earl Irons, 33, admitted in February that he turned $5 bills into $100 bills, which were ultimately passed through several states and to a military base in Iraq.
The case ultimately led to the arrests of five Lodi residents, including a National Guard sergeant. All five ultimately pleaded guilty, and some are still in prison.
Irons, believed to be the ringleader who owned computer equipment for counterfeiting, was also the one who led Lodi police to break the case nearly two years ago.
On July 2, 2008, video surveillance cameras at the Lodi Lowe's store captured images of a man who tried to pass a fake $100 bill. A Lodi police officer recognized Irons on the video, and investigators got a search warrant for a Scottsdale Road home. There they found fake money and computers with software used to make the bills.
Police found and arrested Irons two weeks later, and they found a fake bill in his wallet, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Irons had used a chemical to "wash" ink off a legitimate $5 bill, then reprinted $100 bill markings on it.
Lodi detectives began tracing more fake bills, then enlisted the help of the U.S. Secret Service when they learned the bills had been taken across state lines and into Mexico and Iraq.
Fake money was passed between January 2006 until Irons' arrest in July 2008, and investigators have found more than $277,000 worth of counterfeit money, prosecutors said.
Others convicted in the case were:
- Joseph DeAnda, whose last name is sometimes spelled De Anda, had served in the National Guard until his conviction. He pleaded guilty in April 2009 to passing counterfeit currency and was sentenced in August 2009 to 18 months in prison. Now 47, he is being held at a federal prison in northwestern Oregon. He is scheduled to be released, followed by three years of supervision, in January, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
- His wife, Tami Kishi DeAnda, pleaded guilty in November to possessing counterfeit currency. She had been scheduled to be sentenced in March, but that date was postponed to June 28.
- Holly Armada Haworth, 30, pleaded guilty June 1, 2009, to passing counterfeit currency. She was later sentenced to a year in prison and three years of supervised release. She is being held at a low security women's prison in Dublin and is scheduled to be released in November.
- Shelie Louise Radotic pleaded guilty in June 2009 and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, as well as three years of probation.