PROVIDENCE – A Pawtucket man, previously convicted and incarcerated for producing counterfeit casino coins, was arrested at his Pawtucket residence on Friday and made an initial appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond on charges that he allegedly possessed equipment used to manufacture counterfeit U.S. currency and that he manufactured counterfeit $100 bills.
Louis B. Colavecchio, 76, was arrested by United States Secret Service agents as the agents, assisted by Coventry and Pawtucket Police, executed a federal court-authorized search of his residence. The U.S. Secret Service seized, among other items, electronic media and presses used in the production of counterfeit U.S. currency, including the simulation of security features on U.S. currency. Agents also seized approximately $24,000 in counterfeit $100 bills.
Colavecchio’s arrest on charges of intent to defraud by falsely making or forging obligations or other securities of the United States; intent to defraud, pass, publish or sell counterfeit U.S. currency; and selling, buying or transferring counterfeit U.S. currency is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Stephen Marks, Coventry Police Chief John S. MacDonald, and Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves.
According to Court documents, Coventry Police developed information relating to Colavecchio’s alleged counterfeiting activity. Between June and November 2018, it is alleged that Colavecchio had numerous recorded telephone conversations monitored by law enforcement in which he discussed plans to manufacture counterfeit currency. He also spoke of technology he said he developed which replicates security features of U.S. currency, including how genuine currency reacts to UV light.
It is alleged that Colavecchio repeatedly insisted that the counterfeit currency he produced not be passed in Rhode Island. In one conversation monitored by law enforcement, Colavecchio allegedly stated that, if arrested, his “defense” would be that he was working as a counterfeit detection specialist.
Colavecchio was released on $10,000 unsecured bond following his appearance on Friday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond.
According to court records, Colavecchio was convicted in U.S. District Court in New Jersey in October 1997, and sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for manufacturing counterfeit casino coins. He was convicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and scheme to defraud: counterfeit securities.
At the time of his arrest on Friday, Colavecchio was serving a Rhode Island state court 7 year suspended sentence with probation for possessing 5 kilograms or more of marijuana. He was convicted in Rhode Island State court and sentenced in January 2015.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.