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FBI: Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to False Statements and Counterfeiting Offenses

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)– Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on December 9, 2010, OVTAVIUS R. HARRIS, age 22, of Cahokia, Illinois, pled guilty in United States District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois, to an indictment charging false statements during the purchase of a firearm, and to a two-count information charging counterfeiting U.S. currency (Count 1) and counterfeiting securities of a private entity (Count 2). HARRIS also agreed to turn over the firearm and any and all ammunition identified in the indictment, and further agreed to forfeiture of a desktop computer and printer identified in the Information.

HARRIS is currently scheduled to be sentenced on April 8, 2011. As to the indictment, HARRIS faces a possible maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than three years of supervised release upon release from imprisonment. As to the information, HARRIS faces a possible maximum sentence of not more than 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than three years’ supervised release on Count 1, and not more than 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than three years’ supervised release on Count 2.

According to court documents, the violation charged in the indictment occurred on or about December 11, 2009, when the defendant unlawfully purchased a firearm. The violations charged in the information occurred on or about June 11, 2010, when federal agents went to defendant’s residence to execute an arrest warrant. Agents conducted a safety check and found items used to manufacture counterfeit currency and counterfeit checks.

The case involving the illegal purchase of a firearm resulted from the efforts of the WAVE (Working Against Violent Elements) Task Force, which focuses its efforts on combating violent crime in East St. Louis, Washington Park, and surrounding communities. WAVE was formed in November, 2009, and is a collaboration of law enforcement officers from the Illinois State Police, the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois (MEGSI), the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the East St. Louis Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the United States Marshals Service. The WAVE Task Force receives financial support through the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative, a nationwide federal program which endeavors to address gun-related violence.

The case involving the counterfeiting was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service.

The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Deirdre A. Durborow for prosecution.

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