A 32-year-old man accused of passing counterfeit Russian rubles was sentenced yesterday to one year in prison after pleading guilty to the offense.
Superior Court associate judge Joseph N. Camacho handed down the sentence against Franklin Crisostomo following a guilty plea to theft by deception.
Crisostomo was arrested after he used five fake 5,000 Russian rubles to buy several items at DFS Galleria on Aug. 24, 2012. He was captured by surveillance camera purchasing the items from three different stores at DFS. Among the items were Nike sunglasses, a ladies Coach watch, and Cool Water cologne.
In a four-page order yesterday, Camacho sentenced Crisostomo to the maximum of one-year imprisonment to be served day for day without the possibility of parole. He was given credit for time served. The sentence shall start immediately.
Upon his release from prison, Crisostomo will be placed on two years' probation. He was ordered to pay full restitution for all stolen property and damages to DFS in the amount to be determined later. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $500 and court fee amounting to $100.
Crisostomo is also barred from visiting or patronizing DFS.
According to Camacho, the severity of Crisostomo's acts warrants greater retribution and incarceration than the four months the defendant wanted.
“The defendant used fake currency to purchase high-end items and then receive legal U.S. currency as change causing DFS to in effect 'laundry' the counterfeit Russian rubles. The specter of counterfeit Russian rubles in the CNMI would be devastating to the CNMI's struggling tourism industry,” stated Camacho.