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In Bamberg, a set of poorly printed euro notes led to the arrest of a 26-year-old who had ordered hundreds of counterfeit euros from the darknet. The investigation began in January after a shopkeeper immediately spotted the fake notes based on their poor design and construction. Despite the defendant’s poor odds of walking out of the courtroom, the judge let him walk with a relatively light sentence.
In January 2017, the 26-year-old Bamberger attempted to pay for merchandise at a shop in the center of Bamberg. He used three fake 50-euro notes. The shop assistant who received the notes notified the police. The police, in turn, opened an investigation into the showing of counterfeit notes in the Bamberg area.
Although the hearing occurred at the District Court of Bamberg, the presiding judge negotiated an agreement between the court, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney from behind closed doors. The presiding judge, Judge Marion Amann, chose this route to save time and energy; by concluding the case amongst themselves, the court avoided needing to call upon three witnesses.
According to the 26-year-old’s attorney, Horst Jungbauer, the prosecutor dropped the counterfeiting charges. This, in part, happened because the court could not determine who had bought the 150 counterfeit euros found split amongst the defendant and his uncle. The defense attorney said that his client’s uncle had also faced legal action that resulted in a similar verdict. Both the uncle and his nephew alleged that the other party had ordered the euros from the darknet.
Thanks to the disagreements between the family members and the prosecution’s inability to differentiate between the guilty and innocent parties, the defendant walked on a suspended sentence. Judge Marion Amann sentenced the man to six months in jail, suspended by two years of government supervision. The defendant must report any changes of address, avoid arrest for two years, complete 80-hours of community service, and pay court fees.
Prosecutor Isabel Brzezicha avoided pushing any criminal fines as part of the sentence. The 26-year-old had received charges for different crimes during the past four years. In many of the cases, including the most recent one, he had not been able to pay outstanding debts to the court. With fees owed, he would turn himself in to serve an equivalent length of time in jail. According to Judge Marion Amann, the 26-year-old had not yet dealt with any of his financial obligations to his children.
“Take care of it,” the judge told him. If the young man avoided paying any outstanding debts to the government or ordered by the government, the next charge would be from the court. “If you are still under probation, it will be very tight,” Judge Amann closed.