United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announced that Christopher M. Tanner, a 45 year old resident of Mobile, Alabama was sentenced to 18 months for counterfeiting United States currency. He was also ordered to pay $80 in restitution to the Holiday Inn on Highway 90 Mobile, Alabama and $50.00 restitution to Burger King Theodore Dawes Road, Theodore, Alabama. All items used to facilitate the counterfeiting crime was forfeited to the United States.
On July 17, 2018, according to a factual statement Christopher Tanner signed in connection with his guilty plea to counterfeiting United States currency, on January 29, 2018, Christopher Tanner and his wife, Debbie Tanner, checked into a room at the Holiday Inn on Highway 90 in Mobile, Alabama. Christopher Tanner paid for the room with $80 of counterfeit U.S. currency. Once the hotel staff discovered that the money was counterfeit, they call the local authorities. Officers responded to the scene and located Christopher Tanner on the property. Mr. Tanner was Mirandized and asked if he paid cash for the room and whether he knew the money he used was counterfeited U.S. currency. Mr. Tanner stated that he did pay for the room in cash and that he received the cash from a person he did not know as payment for a business transaction. Mr. Tanner stated that he did not know the money was counterfeit. Officers then told Mr. Tanner that he would be transported to the Financial Crimes Unit of the Mobile Police Department. Mr. Tanner asked officers if they would retrieve a pair of shoes from his hotel room for him. Officers went to the room and knocked on the door. After waiting for approximately five minutes, Mrs. Tanner opened the door. Officers asked for a pair of shoes for her husband. During the wait, officers heard what they believed to be the top of a printer closing and crumbling paper. When Mrs. Tanner returned with the shoes, officers asked if she was alone in the room and if he could conduct a safety check of the room. Mrs. Tanner gave verbal consent. While conducting the safety check, the officers noticed two printers and a pack of paper inside the room. Mrs. Tanner was then detained and a search warrant was obtained for the room. Additionally, officers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle the Tanners drove to the hotel after seeing a package of printer paper in plain view through one of the vehicle’s windows. Items seized during the search of the hotel room included printers; computers; $429.00 cash that include the parent notes used to produce counterfeit federal reserve notes; $8,890.00 in counterfeited U.S. Currency; nineteen bleached genuine $1 federal reserve notes; a notebook containing notes on security information of U.S. currency; a pack of printer paper; and a can of oven cleaner.
Officers also obtained search warrants for the two seized computers. Items found during the searches included: 44 images of counterfeit currency; 20 images of driver’s licenses from various states and an internet history displaying downloads and searches for items related to manufacturing counterfeit currency and documents. All of the items seized during the searches were instrumentalities of and helped facilitate the production of counterfeited U.S. currency.
On January 4, 2018 in DeRidder, Louisiana, Christopher Tanner attempted to pay his electric bill at Beauregard Electric with two counterfeit $20 dollar bills include with genuine U.S. currency. He was not arrested at that time because officers believed his story when he told them he did not know the money was counterfeit.
On March 14, 2018, Tanner went into the Walmart in DeRidder, Louisiana, and purchased merchandise with counterfeited $20 bills. He was not apprehended that day but his fraudulent transaction was captured on Walmart’s security camera video.
On March 17, 2018 in DeRidder, Louisiana, Christopher Tanner was arrested for possessing, passing and attempting to pass counterfeit currency. On this date, a search warrant was executed at a hotel room he was staying in. The items seized during that search included: 1) approximately $18,130 in counterfeit U.S. currency; 2) a Blackberry tablet; 3) a Verizon tablet; 4) an HP Laptop computer. All of Tanner’s criminal activities in DeRidder were continuous actions that were part of his conspiracy in Mobile.
Special Agents of the United States Secret Service along with officers of the Mobile, Alabama Police Department investigated the case and brought it to the U.S. Attorney=s Office for prosecution. The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant United States Attorney, Gina S. Vann.