MADISON, WIS. – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Dominique Gaunichaux, 19, Madison, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William Conley to eight months in federal prison for his role in passing counterfeit U.S. currency at numerous merchants in southern Wisconsin. Gaunichaux pleaded guilty to this charge on January 4, 2017. His sentence will be followed by two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to the victimized merchants, jointly and severally with his other co-defendants.
During January and February 2016, Gaunichaux and four other individuals from Madison traveled in groups to various cities from Baraboo to Janesville, passing counterfeit $100 bills at restaurants and merchants. The group would make small-dollar purchases for which they would present the fake $100 bills in order to receive a large amount of change in legitimate currency from the merchants. The group was apprehended on February 23, 2016 by Janesville police officers during one such shopping spree, when they responded to merchant reports of the suspicious bills.
Cornelius Stewart, 22, who was sentenced to two years in federal prison in February for his role as a leader of the group, provided the counterfeit bills to the other members of the group in return for a portion of the change they would receive from merchants.
On February 24, Judge Conley sentenced Danesha Phillips to 42 days time served and Marlo Phillips to one year time served for their roles in this scheme. Danesha Phillips and Marlo Phillips are sister and brother. The final defendant, Parish Barbary-Wheatherby, 21, will be sentenced on April 28.
The charges in this case were the result of an investigation conducted by the Madison, Baraboo, Stoughton, Verona, Oregon, Fitchburg, Lake Delton, and Janesville Police Departments, as well as the Sauk County and Rock County Sheriffs’ Offices, all in
coordination with the U.S. Secret Service. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.
--DOJ Western District of Wisconsin