PITTSBURGH—A United States citizen has been deported from the Republic of Uganda and brought to the Western District of Pennsylvania to face charges of leading an international counterfeit currency operation headquartered in that African nation. The announcement was made today by David Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Eric Zahren, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service—Pittsburgh Field Office.
Ryan Andrew Gustafson, aka Jack Farrel, aka Willy Clock, 28, is charged with conspiracy, conspiracy to launder money, and the passing and receiving of counterfeit money from December 2013 until December 2014. The indictment alleges more than $1.4 million in counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes have been seized and passed worldwide, both overseas and in the U.S. as part of this scheme.
Gustafson had been on trial in Uganda on a number of charges, including possessing counterfeit money. He was deported Dec. 3 and arrived in Pittsburgh on Friday evening. He will be presented before Chief U.S. District Magistrate Maureen Kelly today at 2:30 p.m. for an Initial Appearance. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.
“Identifying, charging and returning Ryan Gustafson to the United States from Uganda required extensive cooperation among diverse international law enforcement partners and expert coordination among the Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton. “As a result, a multimillion dollar international cyber counterfeiting scheme has been disrupted and its principal will face justice on American soil. This investigation demonstrates our relentless resolve to identify cyber criminals overseas and bring them back to the United States to be tried for their crimes.”
“This international counterfeit currency investigation and subsequent arrests illustrate Secret Service expertise in safeguarding the Nation’s financial infrastructure since inception,” said Special Agent in Charge Zahren. “We will continue to work closely with our network of law enforcement partners to dismantle criminal enterprises seeking to victimize innocent victims, regardless of geographic distance or borders. Special thanks to Ugandan law enforcement officials and the United States Embassy Uganda for their assistance.”
“This investigation was an excellent example of a partnership between multiple federal law enforcement agencies across the country and overseas, working together to identify and bring down those responsible for a worldwide conspiracy. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service remains vigilant, pursuing criminals like Gustafson to ensure the public’s trust in a safe and secure mail system.” added Inspector in Charge, Tommy Coke, Pittsburgh Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Gustafson, a U.S. citizen residing in Kampala, Uganda, was originally charged by criminal complaint in December 2014. The April 1, 2015, indictment naming Gustafson also charged three additional defendants with conspiracy and conspiracy to launder money from December 2013 until December 2014. Those defendants are:
- Zackary L. Ruiz, aka Mr. Mouse, 19, of Las Vegas, Nevada, who is pending trial;
- Jeremy J. Miller, aka Sinner, 31, of Seattle, Washington, who is pending trial; and
- Michael Q. Lin, aka Mlin, aka Mr. Casino, 21, of Bethlehem, Penn., who pleaded guilty on Nov. 9, and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 16, 2016.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shardul S. Desai is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended numerous agencies and organizations for conducting the investigation leading to charges in this case, including the Directorate of Public Prosecution, the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department, the Special Investigations and Intelligence Unit, and Stanbic Bank in Uganda; the U.S. Secret Service; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance.