TEL AVIV (Sep. 11)
Police in Israel and the U.S. have uncovered a major counterfeit ring and seven men were arrested here yesterday while in the act of printing $12 million worth of $100 bills.
Police spokesmen said the bills they had found were of excellent quality, among the best counterfeits they had ever seen. They would even pass the test of the expensive small dollar testing electronic machines now popular in Israel because of the plague of counterfeit currency on sale on the black market.
The counterfeiters were so taken by surprise by the police raid that they did not have time to turn off the small press and the fake dollars, in sheets of six bills to a sheet, continued to flow out of the press as the police detained the suspects.
One of them was quoted by police as saying: “How could you be such sadists? We worked so hard at printing. You could at least have stopped us before we started work.”
The tip-off for the operation appears to have come from the U.S. some months ago, when reports of a major counterfeit operation by Israelis surfaced. Both Israeli and American police have been keeping a careful watch on the gangs at both ends since then.
THREE MEN ARRESTED IN BROOKLYN
Meanwhile, in New York yesterday the United States Secret Service announced the arrest of three men in Brooklyn who were connected with the Israeli counterfeiting ring.
James D’Amellio, a U.S. Secret Service special agent, who coordinated the raids with the Israeli National Police, said that Secret Service agents arrested Avraham Batashvilli, 52, and his sons Michael, 22 and Irshak, 26. The Batashvilis are Soviet Georgian emigres and are related to the seven Georgian emigres who were seized in Israel.
All three men were charged with conspiracy to counterfeit currency. An indictment is expected to be obtained this week. Conspiracy to counterfeit carries a maximum 15-year sentence.
According to Raymond Dearie, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, the raid last Friday netted large quantities of ink and paper, four printing machines, and plates and negatives for $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. More arrests are expected.