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

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WASHINGTON — A California woman pled guilty to helping process more than $1.6 million in counterfeit Treasury Department Series I savings bonds through financial institutions around the United States, the Department of Justice said Thursday.

Summer Marie Creech, 45, forged counterfeit I bonds using authentic bond numbers and sent them to co-conspirators who used stolen identification to redeem the forgeries at financial institutions in south Texas and elsewhere, according to the DOJ.

Creech split the profits with her conspirators during the scam, which spanned three years.

I bonds offer fixed rate and inflation-adjusted variable rate returns. The financial instruments became more popular during the Covid pandemic as the U.S. inflation rate spiked.

Creech, who lives in Fontana, pled Wednesday in federal court in Brownsville, Texas, to conspiracy to make, pass and transfer counterfeit U.S. securities, and passing counterfeit U.S. securities.

She faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison but is likely to get less than that given federal sentencing guidelines.

Creech is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20.

Her co-conspirator, Daniel Alan Lewis, pled guilty on May 1 to passing counterfeit bonds through banks in the Houston and Brownsville areas of Texas, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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