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4 indicted in connection to counterfeiting ring

| Friday, Sept. 30, 2005

Two Fayette County men and a Washington County couple have been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the investigation of a counterfeiting ring that operated in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan announced Wednesday that Jason Chiera, 23, of National Avenue, and Patrick Marinelli, 19, of Reliance Avenue, both of Brownsville, have been indicted on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture and pass counterfeit currency.

The indictment alleges that Chiera and Marinelli were part of a group who, in July and August 2004, conspired to manufacture and pass counterfeit currency at various locations.

If found guilty, both men could face up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

David and Melinie Baltich, both 33, of Beallsville Road, Scenery Hill, face a three-count indictment charging them with conspiracy and manufacturing and passing counterfeit currency of various denominations.

The indictment alleges the couple produced the counterfeit bills and then passed them at restaurants, grocery stores and retail establishments.

If convicted on all counts, David Baltich faces 25 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, or both, while Melinie Baltich could be sentenced to 45 years in prison, a $750,000 fine, or both.

Buchanan said the U.S. Secret Service worked in conjunction with local law enforcement during the investigation that resulted in these and other indictments involving a number of Allegheny County residents.

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