Accused Counterfeiter Extradited to Brooklyn

     BROOKLYN (CN) – A Lebanese man was extradited to Brooklyn Federal Court from Malaysia on charges that he was the ring-leader in a high-end counterfeiting plot with ties to his mother country and Iran.
     Louay Ibrahim Houssein was arrested in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia in 2014 on charges of counterfeiting U.S. currency.
     On Tuesday, the 42-year-old was hauled into Brooklyn Federal Court to stand before Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom.
     Earlier that day, another magistrate Judge, Robert Levy, put him on lock-down until the terms of his bond package could be hammered out.
     According to prosecutors, Houssein was the subject of a “long-term undercover investigation” that authorities say went on for years. During that time, the authorities say, he allegedly sold thousands of dollars in counterfeit bills to a secret service agent posing as a member of a New York-based “criminal enterprise.”
     All told, he is accused of selling the agent nearly $150,000 in “high quality” fake $100 bills, and nearly $150,000 in bunk euros.
     Houssein also allegedly set up a counterfeiting operation on the island of Cyprus in October 2013 that turned out another $300,000 in counterfeited currency.
     In June 2014, his co-defendant, Nazer A-Shekh Mosa, also known as Mohammed Hasan Haidar and also a Syrian national, sold an undercover agent $170,000 in counterfeit money.
     He was arrested, pled guilty in April, and now awaits his sentence.
     A third, U.S.-based co-conspirator, Moufak Al Sababi, was arrested in August. He pled guilty to conspiracy and got a three-year sentence.
     The men were part of an “international criminal network” that sells counterfeit U.S. currency around the world, claiming to have as much as $800 million of high-quality fake money for sale to clients in Iran and elsewhere, prosecutors say.
     They’re also accused of offering their clients to get weapons, drugs and their fake money through U.S. ports.
     “The reliability of U.S. currency is a pillar of the global financial system,” U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said in announcing Houssein’s extradition.
     Capers said Houssein and his co-conspirators “exploited that reliability and threatened the stability it provides, all to serve their own greed.”
     The Secret Service praised Malaysian law enforcement for their help in capturing and stopping the men’s alleged enterprise.
     “This investigation highlights the immeasurable effectiveness of law enforcement partnerships in combating fraud,” said FBI Special Agent David Beach. “We will continue to work closely with our domestic and international partners to defeat criminal enterprises and protect the nation’s financial infrastructure.”

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