By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
"It used to be a crime of expertise, now it's a crime of convenience," Keene says. "We're seeing people who are just trying to support a drug habit."
It was bound to happen, the combination of crack cocaine with computer-generated counterfeit cash, of making money the easy way with getting high the cheap way.
And Secret Service agents are finding that a drug dealer often holds the key to breaking a counterfeiting case.
In addition to the Kleiman indictment, another drug dealer recently led authorities to arrest a married couple counterfeiting cash in Fort Lauderdale.
Carl and Kelly Waldron were indicted in late February after a drug dealer ratted them out. The Waldrons, according to federal court documents, used their computer to make cash for one thing only: Kelly Waldron's crack habit. She wrote in a statement she gave to federal agents that it all started in mid-January with this all-too-common dilemma: "I had a five-dollar bill and my husband... said he needed it for lunch, but I wanted it to go buy more crack."
She said she "jokingly" scanned the bill through her husband's computer. "When I saw how well it came out, I was shocked and called Carl."
She told investigators that she came up with the idea to make fake bills so she could "ride through and rip off the dope dealers for their crack, and my husband wouldn't have to give up his money, and he could get the bills caught up."
Carl Waldron told the feds that "it was more like a game with the drug dealers." As Kelly Waldron kept making more and more money to buy more and more crack, he restricted her use to the computer. But he still kept doling out the computer cash to his wife so she could keep her pipe filled.
"I can honestly say that if it wasn't for me, Carl would have never had anything to do with criminal activity," Kelly Waldron wrote. "He doesn't even like the fact that I do crack. But all he wanted was to keep me safe and at home."
One of the drug dealers was also a confidential informant who contacted the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Soon the informant was working for the feds, buying counterfeit cash from Kelly Waldron, according to federal affidavits.
The Waldron cases are being heavily contested by defense lawyers who are attacking the credibility of the drug dealer who helped to arrest them.
While federal agencies may be putting computer counterfeiting at the top of their priority list, Kleiman said he believes more and more people like him will figure out how easy it is and give it a shot.
"The people who arrested me told me this is getting to be a real bad problem," he said. "Somebody's scanning bills all over the place. I'm sure there's a guy down the road right now with 25 computers hooked up to the same printer making the stuff."
Kleiman's living in Sunrise now, after posting a $25,000 bond to get out of jail, if only temporarily. He's reunited with his wife and daughter and still scraping to pay the bills.
"I just want to get past this and get on with my life," he says. But he adds, only half-jokingly, that he might share his knowledge of computer-generated cash -- flawed as it may be -- to a worldwide audience.
"I'm going to write a book on it and put that on the Internet and try to recoup some of my losses that way. 'How to Make Money on Your Own PC.' It's sad, really, how easy it is.