Ryan Gustafson, an American citizen arrested in Uganda on December 15, has been charged in his home country with conspiracy, possession of and dealing in counterfeit currency and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Gustafson a.k.a ‘Willy Clock’ was arraigned before the United States federal court on December 18.
The US Embassy in Uganda notes that contrary to earlier media reports, Gustafson is not and has never been a member of any branch of the US military. Following his arrest, authorities seized more than $200,000 (Shs 540m) in counterfeit US dollars and miscellaneous paraphernalia used to manufacture and distribute counterfeit currency.
“This successful investigation and arrest is the result of long cooperation between Ugandan authorities and the US Secret Service,” US Embassy spokesman Dan Travis said in a press release sent to The Observer.
In December 2013, the Secret Service began investigating the circulation of counterfeit US Federal Reserve notes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The investigation identified counterfeit notes believed to have been manufactured in Uganda. The service later identified a ‘secure’ underground online forum called Community-X as the source of the distribution of the counterfeit currency.
Using undercover agents and confidential informants among other methods, the Secret Service identified multiple suspects and developed information leading to the eventual arrest of Gustafson by Ugandan authorities. To date, approximately $1.8 million in counterfeit dollars have been seized from Uganda and neighbouring countries.
The US Secret Service was created in 1865 by the US Treasury Department to suppress counterfeit currency. In 1902, it was added the full-time responsibility of protecting the US president and vice president. Today, in addition to presidential protection, the secret service protects the integrity of US currency and investigates crimes against the US financial system.
Source : The Observer