Photo Credit: Gunner Bothman/TPS

Israel Police announced Tuesday that four suspects have been arrested in a coin counterfeiting ring in Ashdod.

The Financial Crimes Unit of the Israel Police 443 Major Crimes Unit made the arrests following a months-long undercover investigation into the operation, Israel Hayom reported.

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One of the accused is suspected of using numerous bank accounts to launder more than NIS 5 million ($1.6 million). Another suspect, who owns a local factory in the Israeli port city, is suspected of cooperating with the three other suspects on a plan to convert his facility into a counterfeiting production plant.

The suspects are accused of making fake five shekel and ten shekel coins.

Detectives from the Financial Crimes Unit and officers of the Bank of Israel Currency Department raided the factory early Tuesday morning. They seized dozens of loose five shekel and ten shekel coins as well as raw materials, printing blocks and sophisticated machinery allegedly used to produce the counterfeit coins.

Two of the suspects were allegedly caught in the act of counterfeiting the coins. More of the counterfeited coins were seized during raids on some of the suspects’ homes.

The four suspects face charges of producing counterfeit currency; installing or owning tools to produce counterfeit currency; fraudulent receipts of goods; and tax evasion and money laundering.

Three of the suspects were remanded into custody until Dec. 9 after a hearing before the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court. The fourth was remanded until Wednesday (Dec. 8).

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.