Secret Service-Nabbed Counterfeiters Targeting Newport Beach Learn Punishments

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Secret Service: Caught them 'cause they can
The night of July 2, 2011, was a wild one for Cynthia Lou Rudd and Edward John Kakos as the dating couple drove their van from Ventura County, where they stole $100 worth of gas, southbound to Orange County for the national holiday.

Phoenix-native Rudd, the 53-year-old driver with a history of drunk driving, was intoxicated and high on methamphetamine, and Kakos, a 57-year-old serial counterfeiter with a heavy rap sheet and four prison trips, was eagerly plotting ways to pass fake money in Newport Beach.

But, according to a U.S. Secret Service investigatory report obtained by the Weekly, the party ended when Rudd began driving erratically, missed the 55-freeway to Newport Beach, continued south on the 405, struck another vehicle near the I-5 at Oso Parkway and crashed.

Inside the Mission Viejo Medical Center's emergency room, hospital staff performed a routine accounting of the couple's valuables, found a suspicious $3,265 in a black purse and notified California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers who handled the crash.

The CHP officers contacted the Santa Ana bureau of the Secret Service, which determined that the pair carried 58 poor quality, fake bills (mostly $100s) that had been created by an inkjet printing technique using a laptop computer.

All of the bogus currency lacked the U.S. Treasury Department's security features including color shifting ink and genuine watermark, according to the Secret Service report.

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Rudd and Kakos initially pleaded not guilty, eventually changed pleas and this month learned their punishments. Though she faced up to seven months in prison, Federal Judge John F. Walter followed the wishes of prosecutors and gave Rudd a term of time served awaiting trial.

In Kakos' case, prosecutors sought a 36-month prison term. Walter, however, ordered him confined for 30 months. When he's released, federal probation officials can test him for illegal drug use up to eight times per month.

But there's little doubt we'll hear from Kakos again. He just can't help himself. Just two months after his OC arrest, he was caught possessing fake $100s in Napa.

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