A woman called police one day last month and accused the man living with her of making counterfeit money in their Miami home.
When Miami police officers responded to the address, 960 NW Sixth St., they arrested a man later identified as José Batista. During a search of the one-story home, the officers found equipment that they suspected Batista was using to print counterfeit $100 bills.
It is not the first time Batista, 57, is in trouble with the law over counterfeit money. In 2004, Batista was indicted on various counterfeit money charges, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 months in the federal penitentiary and three years supervised release, according to a Secret Service criminal complaint filed in Miami federal court.
After serving his sentence and while he was out on supervised release, Batista was arrested again in 2010. His parole was revoked, and he was sent back to prison for an additional 14 months.
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The sequence of events suggests that Batista had been free only a few years before he allegedly resumed his business.
The Batista case is detailed in the criminal complaint filed by a Secret Service agent who was contacted by the Miami police after detectives arrested Batista.
According to the criminal complaint, the latest case against Batista began Feb. 13 when a woman, identified in court papers only as V.P., called Miami police.
She said Batista, who lived with her, was printing counterfeit money “for the purpose of purchasing goods and services” and selling it to people willing to use it illegally, the criminal complaint said.
When police officers arrived at the scene, they spotted Batista sitting on the front step.
He was immediately arrested because the detectives recognized him as a suspect in an earlier incident involving counterfeit money.
Then the detectives entered the house, with V.P.’s permission. They found the equipment allegedly used in the crime.
“Once inside the home, the officers observed a photocopier, several uncut sheets of printed counterfeit Federal Reserved Notes all in the denomination of $100 and bearing serial number LL67285908C, markers, spray paint, and makeup, which V.P. stated were used by Batista to touch up the counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes, and a paper cutter,” the complaint said.
The serial number was key to linking Batista to the counterfeit money, according to the complaint.
It was the serial number of a genuine $100 bill that detectives found in the home and which Batista allegedly copied. Miami police contacted the Secret Service, which handles counterfeit money cases in the United States.
When a Secret Service agent responded, he examined the premises.
“I examined the suspect Federal Reserve Notes and determined them to be counterfeit,” the complaint’s author wrote. “Based on my training and experience, I believe the items to be consistent with items used in the production of counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes.”
Batista was indicted Feb. 27 and pleaded not guilty in Miami federal court on March 3. He is now awaiting trial.
The Secret Service had no comment because the case is still under investigation. Batista’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Follow Alfonso Chardy on Twitter @AlfonsoChardy