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Politics

Woman pleads guilty in $1.6 million counterfeit Series I savings bond scheme

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Chelsey Cox@therealco

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Key Points
  • Summer Marie Creech, 45, of California, pleaded guilty to counterfeit production of Series I savings bonds used to defraud banks.
  • Creech’s co-conspirators passed the bonds through various banks using stolen identification to reap the profits.
  • The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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WASHINGTON — A woman pled guilty to helping process over $1.6 million in counterfeit Treasury Department Series I savings bonds through financial institutions around the country, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.

Summer Marie Creech, 45, of Fontana, California, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday for conspiracy to make, pass and transfer counterfeit U.S. securities and passing counterfeit U.S. securities. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Creech forged counterfeit bonds using authentic bond numbers and sent them to co-conspirators who used stolen identification to negotiate the forgeries at financial institutions in the Southern District of Texas and other locations, according to the DOJ. The conspirators then split the profits.

The plot occurred over a three-year period, according to Creech’s co-conspirator, Daniel Alan Lewis. Lewis pled guilty on May 1 to passing counterfeit bonds through banks in the Houston and Brownsville areas of Texas, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced.

Series I bonds rose in popularity as the country experienced a period of high inflation during the pandemic. Because they offer fixed rate and inflation-adjusted variable rate returns, I bonds are considered a safe place to store cash during an inflationary period.

Creech is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 20.