U.S. Secret Service and Uganda Authorities Dismantle International Cyber Counterfeiting Conspiracy

(Kampala) – On December 15, 2014, the Ugandan police supported by the U. S. Secret Service arrested Ryan Gustafson, aka “Willy Clock,” a U.S. citizen residing in Uganda.  Gustafson was arrested and charged with conspiracy, possession of counterfeit currency, selling/dealing in counterfeit currency and unlawful possession of ammunition.  The U.S. Embassy notes that contrary to earlier media reports, Gustafson is not – nor has he ever been – a member of any branch of the U.S. military.  Following the arrest, authorities seized over $200,000 in counterfeit U.S. dollars and miscellaneous paraphernalia used to manufacture and distribute counterfeit currency.

“This successful investigation and arrest is the result of long cooperation between Ugandan authorities and the U.S. Secret Service” said U.S. Embassy spokesman Dan Travis.

In December 2013, the Secret Service began investigating the passing of counterfeit U.S. Federal Reserve Notes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The subsequent investigation identified counterfeit notes believed to have been manufactured in Uganda and identified a “secure” underground online forum called “Community-X,” as the source of the distribution of the counterfeit currency.  Using undercover agents, confidential informants, and other methods, the Secret Service identified multiple suspects, and developed information leading to the eventual arrest of Gustafson by Ugandan authorities.  To date, approximately $1.8 million in counterfeit dollars have been seized and/or passed in Uganda and neighboring countries.

Counterfeiting and conspiracy charges were filed against Gustafson in U.S. federal court December 18. Those charges allege Gustafson both produced the counterfeit notes and administered the Community X network.

The U.S. Secret Service was created in 1865 by the U.S. Treasury Department to suppress counterfeit currency.  In 1902 the Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for protection of the President of the United States.  Today, the mission of the Secret Service is twofold: first, to ensure the security of the President, the Vice President, their families, the White House, the Vice President’s Residence, national and visiting world leaders, former Presidents, and events of national significance; as well as to protect the integrity of U.S. currency and investigate crimes against the U.S. financial system.