Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 12:59 p.m.
For counterfeiting U.S. Federal Reserve notes, an Orange County con artist and convicted drug addict faced as much as 20 years in prison.
Costa Mesa's James Peter Perraie, a past part-time Rancho Santiago Community College student with a history of methamphetamine and heroin abuse, originally pleaded innocence after his December 2011 federal indictment and arrest, according to court records.
But in March 2012, a federal prosecutor obtained a plea agreement from Perraie, who acknowledged that he washed genuine $1 and $5 bills with an oven cleaner and, after drying the paper, used a consumer computer printer to convert the bills into $100 notes that he sold for $30.
An October 2011 raid on Perraie's home found $1,000 in counterfeit bills, chemicals used to alter the currency and numerous credit cards belonging to other individuals.
Because Perraie, a native of Redding who was raised a Mormon and is now the father of an infant, cooperated with the government after his arrest and promised to clean up his life, prosecutors backed a relatively light 18-month prison trip.
On Feb. 11, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford sentenced Perraie to the 18-month term, plus three years of supervised probation after his release.
Guilford ordered the 29-year-old counterfeiter to surrender to U.S. marshals by noon on April 19.