Carmine Guerriero, one of the main actors associated with the international counterfeiting ring known as the “Napoli Group,” received a five year sentence for his role in the crime syndicate’s activities. For the widespread distribution of hundreds of thousands of counterfeit Euros, Guerriero will spend five years under house arrest.
The Guardia di Finanza arrested Guerriero in December 2016. More than a year prior to the arrest, Europol launched an investigation into the counterfeiting ring at a global scale. The international investigation led police forces arresting at least 28 suspects spread throughout several countries. Law enforcement caught 15 suspects in Spain, eight suspects in Italy, four suspects in France, and one in Portugal. The Italian suspects included the recently sentenced Guerriero and many of his family members.
From his residence in Castellammare, Guerriero a/k/a “Monsignor” shipped counterfeit Euro notes to eight or more countries. He managed the syndicate’s orders, market profiles, and distribution logistics. His mother (Carmela Cavallaro), his sister (Filomena Guerriero), and his cousin (Anna Sorrentino) handled the packaging and shipping of the notes, among other duties.
The Napoli Group darknet market vendor account (NapoliGroup) listed various denominations of Euro notes, all at different prices. The prices depended, for the most part, on the quantity of notes ordered. Customers could purchase as few as four notes and as many as Guerriero could provide. He titled one listing on the former Alphabay market “new 20 counterfeit pack for 100x.” That listing for 100 20s, at the time, sold for 0.8 Bitcoin.
As a general rule, the Napoli Group’s notes sold for an average of 30 percent of face value. Authorities speculated that Guerriero had earned more than $700,000 with the above price model. Law enforcement found one of the family’s bank accounts in Malta, but said the vendor primarily kept Bitcoin.
Notes produced by the Napoli Group dominated the counterfeit Euro market for several years. The “brand” became a mark of quality craftsmanship. At some point during the last five years, the group printed and used €300 notes – a denomination never officially produced. Customers also praised the group for their stealthy shipping methods. As seen in some police videos following the group’s arrest, Napoli Group bills shipped inside specialty cut books. Group members cut out the centers of books and Guerriero’s family shipped the notes inside the cutouts.
Nearly the entire family received punishment for involvement in the counterfeit note (and document) distribution. His mother received a suspended sentence of 18 months. Both his sister and cousin received suspended sentences of 27 months. The court fought to send Guerriero to prison for five years, but with the help of his lawyers, the 31-year-old managed to avoid prison by spending the next five years under house arrest.