A man charged with multiple counts related to passing bogus bills in the Comox Valley was sentenced in provincial court on Oct. 7.
Pedro Frank Cisneros had pleaded to nine counts related to counterfeit money in Nanaimo Provincial Court in late September. He received a custodial sentence of 519 days for the charges and will serve the sentences concurrently.
The total sentence amounted to 912 days, but Cisneros was given credit for time spent in custody. With 393 days deducted, the total left was 519 days. The sentence also includes a two-year probation period and a DNA order.
Earlier this year, Comox Valley RCMP announced they had arrested a suspect following several reports of someone using counterfeit currency at businesses in the area.
We appreciate the businesses who assisted with the investigation so the production and distribution of this counterfeit could be stopped, Const. Monika Terragni, Comox Valley RCMP media relations officer, said in a news release at the time.
In January, police received the reports about the fake money and gathered frontline surveillance footage to help find the suspect. The bike unit arrested Cisneros on Jan. 21, but police continued to investigate. They executed a search warrant at a hotel room where they found a counterfeit operation that included a printer, paper and some additional counterfeit bills.
Terragni pointed out that businesses that accept counterfeit bills are not reimbursed and lose the money. The RCMP notes on its website that there were reports of almost 19,000 banknotes put into circulation in 2020, of which just over 6,300 were seized by law enforcement. The number represented a decline from the three previous years but was higher than in 2015 and 2016.