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Secret Service moves forward with investigation begun in Splendora

HOUSTON- The United States Secret Service took additional action last week in the case of a pair of men apprehended last year after one of them allegedly passed counterfeit bills at two businesses in Splendora and bragged about making them in front of a store clerk.

On August 7, 2008 Splendora Police arrested 32-year-old Tony Shawn McRee, of Cleveland, and Shannon Ray Boudreaux, 32, of Houston. They were charged with forgery of a government financial instrument.

The arrests were only the beginning of an investigation that began with SPD, and quickly included the Montgomery County Auto Theft Task Force, the Houston Police Department and the US Secret Service.

On March 9, USSS Special Agent Alberto Trevino filed an application and affidavit for search warrant involving the Compaq Presario computer seized from Shawn McRee’s home in Cleveland.

Splendora Police Chief Alex Hadrych said the investigation began after officers responded to a fast food restaurant regarding a man and his passenger trying to pay for food with a fake bill.

“They went to Sonic where they passed a counterfeit $20 and then to Citgo where they bought gas and cigarettes with a fake bill,” Hadrych said.

The store clerk told police he heard McRee bragging about using fake bills to purchase a 4-wheeler, then joking that he had to “go make some money,” Hadrych said. The alleged comments caused the clerk to examine the bill McRee used at the store and he and the manager called police after determining it was homemade. The affidavit Trevino filed details that information. It further states that the other party in the conversation with McRee made a statement supporting the store clerk’s claim.

A Splendora officer caught and arrested Mcree, who was still at the Citgo gas station. McRee allegedly had counterfeit $20, $10 and $5 bills in his vehicle, along with a wad of $20 bills in his pocket. Captain Mark Seals revealed shortly after the arrest that all of the$20 bills had the same serial number.

As is standard protocol, SPD contacted the Secret Service. A Special Agent responded and met with SPD investigators and members of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. The USSS agent obtained a search warrant for McRee’s residence on Midline Road in Cleveland, and representatives from the three agencies served the warrant about 10:30 p.m. that night, according to Trevino’s affidavit.

Family members told investigators McRee recently purchased a new computer and pointed them to its location. Trevino stated that the computer was left on and a program was open with an image of a scanned $1 bill on the screen. Seals said uncut sheets of counterfeit currency were still on the printer. The computer was seized.

Additional evidence recovered from McRee’s home led investigators to Boudreaux’s residence in Houston. Secret Service agents and the Houston Police Department served a search warrant there the next day.

Seals said they recovered stolen credit cards, scanners, printers and a stolen BMW. The vehicle resulted in the involvement of the Montgomery County Auto Theft Task Force.

“All of the pieces fit together nicely,” Hadrych said.

Once the evidence was handed over to Special Agent Trevino and the stolen vehicle was recovered, and the two men were charged with third-degree felonies related to the counterfeit bills, life in Splendora went back to normal.

Hadrych said he was surprised when the Secret Service contacted him last week about the case.

“I thought it was a dead issue,” he said, “but they got a federal search warrant signed for the computer.”

Trevino’s affidavit states he believes the computer contains evidence related to violations of Title 18, Section 471 of the United States Code (Obligations or Securities of the United States) and Title 18, Section 474 (Plates, Stones, or Analog Digital, or Electronic Images For Counterfeit Obligations or Securities).

The affidavit requesting a warrant for forensic examination of McRee’s computer was approved and signed by US Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy.

The US Secret Service declined to comment on the case saying it was an ongoing investigation.

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