From Kitsap Sun. Dec 5:
Arrest of Bremerton man for counterfeiting
BREMERTON — A more than two-month interagency investigation culminated in the arrest Sunday of a Bremerton man suspected of leading a counterfeiting and money-laundering operation.
Ernest Lee Williams, 50, was arrested by Bremerton police after he sold $2,340 worth of counterfeit bills to an informant working with investigators.
The U.S. Secret Service and Portland Police Bureau assisted with the investigation.
Williams was charged in Kitsap County Superior Court on Monday with leading an organized crime group and four counts of forgery related to making and exchanging counterfeit bills. He also was charged with an unrelated theft of a woman’s bank and gas cards, which he used to make purchases of nearly $3,000.
Detectives from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Bremerton police launched a joint investigation into Williams in September after several people detained for counterfeiting-related crimes admitted they worked for Williams.
They told investigators how they spent Williams’ large-denomination counterfeit bills on low-cost items at gas stations and garage sales to avoid pen tests used by many businesses. Williams allegedly allowed the people who worked for him to keep a portion of the money they received in change, according to charging documents.
Investigators learned that Williams allegedly obtained $10,000 to $15,000 worth of counterfeit bills each week from a Portland counterfeit bill-making operation.
Kitsap investigators identified the home where the operation was based and notified the Secret Service and Portland police.
The Secret Service located counterfeit clippings from the suspected house’s trash.
An informant began supplying information to Kitsap investigators about Williams while working with him on counterfeiting deals.
On Saturday, investigators provided the informant with $800 cash to give Williams in exchange for $2,340 worth of counterfeit bills.
Police arrested Williams shortly after witnessing him take the cash from the informant at the Bremerton Fred Meyers.
Williams admitted to spending counterfeit money at a Bremerton gas station, electronics store and the Clearwater Casino in Suquamish. He also admitted giving $1,500 worth of counterfeit bills to a woman who admitted driving him to Portland to pick up $10,000 worth of counterfeit bills, according to charging documents.
Williams told investigators he is currently charged with forgery in Pierce County Superior Court and faces more than three months in jail.
His nine previous felony convictions involve robbery, assault, gun possession, burglary, forgery and taking a vehicle without permission.
He is being held on $500,000 bail.