Wesley Weber
NationalityCanadian
Other namesWesley Kam, Jeff Murray.[1]
Criminal chargeCounterfeiting and trading without registration
Websitehttps://wesleyweber.com/

Wesley Wayne Weber[2] is a Canadian who is considered one of the country's most prominent counterfeiters.[3][1][4] Weber succeeded in counterfeiting the Canadian hundred-dollar bill. They were the highest quality computer produced counterfeits of Canadian currency to date.[5] Between ten and nineteen percent of retailers nationwide refused accepting 100 dollar bills as payment, due to the difficulty of identifying the fake copies.[6][7] In 2006 the Canadian History channel made a documentary about him.[8]

Early life

Weber grew up in Amherstburg, a small town near Windsor, Ontario.[9] During his high school years he considered himself a computer nerd[1][10] and by the age of 13 he was able to produce his first fake bills.[11][5] After high school, Weber started to study bioscience and took two years of mechanical engineering at the University of Windsor.[11][5] Before finishing his degree he moved to Toronto and by the age of 26 he purchased a condominium, a Ferrari and various other luxury vehicles.[7]

Counterfeiting

During his teenage years Wesley Weber was able to forge all kind of documents, including insurance certificates, welfare cards, checks and gift certificates.[12] In 1997 he was sentenced to three months for forgery.[11] After that, he spent weeks tinkering with scanned copies of banknotes to perfect the simulated images and security features using techniques he found on websites.[13] He used editing software that allowed to enlarge the image up to 1000 times[10] and printed more than 7.7 million dollars using an HP Deskjet printer.[7][14] To emulate the security features of the real money, Weber used special paper that did not glow under UV light as well as custom foil to forge the metallic patch on the bills. He also purchased fluorescent paint to simulate another feature, the polymer UV responsive dots.[15][10][11] He was arrested in October 2000 after a police raid into the building used to print the money, where they seized over a quarter million dollars in counterfeit bills. By November 2001, over 40 000 fake bills had been detected and taken out of circulation.[16] Police started following Weber's trail after he used his 100 dollar counterfeit bills to pay for a three-thousand dollar purchase at an auto parts supplier.[17] The year he was arrested, Canada changed their currency bills, introducing new security features to try to prevent counterfeiting.[10][18] Weber pleaded guilty in August 2001,[7] and received a five-year prison sentence.[11] Weber was released from jail in August 2006[5] and moved to Richmond Hill, Ontario where he worked selling phones.[11]

Trading

During his jail term Weber learned market trading[7][11] and after release founded the consulting firm Goldbridge Financial Inc. which provided financial services without registration.[19] Weber and his wife, Michelle Kam,[20] co-founded the digital currency startup company Incryptex[1][21] which provides a platform for trading and storing digital crypto-currencies.[22] Weber used the alias 'Wesley Kam' to try to get the company listed on a public exchange by issuing shares and received funds from investors.[19] In January 2019, Weber pleaded guilty to violating a 2011 trading ban from the Ontario Securities Commission for his activities in Incryptex.[23] On 29 October 2019, he was sentenced for that offence to a prison term of 90 days, along with two years of probation by Justice Malcolm McLeod of the Ontario Court of Justice.[2]

Cannabis advocacy

Wesley Weber had been a marijuana farmer in the past. In April 1999 he got arrested for exploiting a grow op in the basement of his home in Windsor[1] and again in 2010 for planting marijuana in another farmer's field.[24] That year, he was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest and 240 hours of community service.[11] In September 2017 Weber used the alias 'Jeff Murray' to speak in front of the city councilors at Toronto's Licensing and Standards Committee and gave his recommendations on how they should regulate cannabis establishments.[1][25] In October 2018, the Cannabis Act legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purpose in Canada.[26] Weber declared that he helped finance a chain of cannabis stores named CAFE. His wife served as director of a company that owns one of the properties used by CAFE.[27] She is also the guarantor of a 1.7 million dollar loan on that real estate.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dubinsky, Zach; Mayor, Lisa (19 July 2019). "Who's really behind Toronto's chain of illegal pot shops that won't quit?". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  2. ^ a b "Recidivist Wesley Weber Sentenced after Guilty Plea to Securities Act Offences". Yahoo! Finance. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Cannabis Canada: Is a white knight for CannTrust in 'everyone's interest'? - Article". BNN Bloomberg. 19 July 2019.
  4. ^ "The world's most notorious counterfeiters who made a fortune". lovemoney.com. 7 May 2019. p. 6.
  5. ^ a b c d Amelie, Siska (11 February 2015). "Wesley Weber, Cetak Uang Palsu Sejak Usia 13 Tahun". Liputan 6 (in Indonesian).
  6. ^ "Money Maker". Masterminds. Episode 51. 7 November 2006. Event occurs at 2:14. History (Canadian TV network). The exceptional forgery soon became epidemic, spreading through cities across the country and inflicting huge losses on businesses. We started seeing refusing notes go up as a result. Nineteen percent of retailers would not accept the 100 dollar bill because they perceived that it was too risky
  7. ^ a b c d e Wolman, David (2013). The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers--and the Coming Cashless Society. Hachette Books. pp. 68, 69. ISBN 9780306822698.
  8. ^ "CBC links CAFE dope shops to Jon Galvano, Wesley Weber". The South Bayview Bulldog. 21 July 2019. @1:55 "There was even a documentary made about him. But the mastermind behind the greatest counterfeiting operation in Canadian history..."
  9. ^ van Wageningen, Ellen (28 December 2001). "Fake bills flooded retailers". The Windsor Star. p. 4.
  10. ^ a b c d Our Nation's Finest. The Globe and Mail, Booktango. 2012. p. 1995. ISBN 9781468902389.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Calleja, Dawn (27 April 2007). "Faking it". The Globe and Mail.
  12. ^ Nash, Jonathan Remy; Estreicher, Samuel (2010). Workplace Privacy: Proceedings of the New York University 58th Annual Conference on Labor. Kluwer Law International B.V. ISBN 9789041131638.
  13. ^ "Counterfeiting: Notes on a scandal". The Independent. 24 August 2009.
  14. ^ Dewaele, Thomas; Diephuis, Maurits; Holotyak, Taras; Voloshynovskiy, Sviatoslav (14 February 2016). "Forensic authentication of banknotes on mobile phones". Society for Imaging Science and Technology. 2016 (8): 1–8. doi:10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2016.8.MWSF-083.
  15. ^ Arune, Willow (23 August 2018). "The forgery that wasn't". The Prince George Citizen. Retrieved 27 September 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Dubé, Francine (1 December 2001). "Counterfeiters gave $100 bills a bad name". National Post. p. 5.
  17. ^ "Money Maker". Masterminds. Episode 51. 7 November 2006. Event occurs at 15:38 and 18:15. History (Canadian TV network). 3 000 dollars in cash, he said no problem", "After Weber leaves the dealer notices that several of his bills have the same serial number and calls police", "authorities seized over a quarter million in counterfeit hundreds
  18. ^ Suhendra, Zulfi (21 December 2016). "5 Penjahat Terbesar Pembuat Uang Palsu". Liputan 6 (in Indonesian).
  19. ^ a b "OSC News Release: Recidivist Wesley Weber pleads guilty to violating the Securities Act". Ontario Securities Commission. 24 January 2019.
  20. ^ Divon, Jordana (15 May 2018). "Law firms offer special deals to lure startups". The Globe and Mail.
  21. ^ "Company wins provincial cannabis lottery proposing pot shop at same address as illegal CAFE store". Yahoo! News. 21 August 2019.
  22. ^ "Incryptex Ltd. company profile". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 September 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ Langton, James (24 January 2019). "Ontario man pleads guilty to violating trading ban". Investment Executive. Retrieved 27 September 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ Wilhelm, Trevor (18 Jun 2010). "Amherstburst police arrest marijuana farmers". Windsor Star. Retrieved 22 June 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ "Licensing and Standards Committee - City of Toronto recommendation for cannabis legalization". Toronto City Council. 18 September 2017.
  26. ^ "The Cannabis Act: The Facts". Health Canada. Government of Canada. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  27. ^ Dubinsky, Zach (1 October 2019). "Illegal pot-shop bigwig should get 16 months for securities offence, prosecutor says". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.