The night of July 2, 2011, was a wild one for Cynthia Lou Rudd and Edward John Kakos as the dating couple drove their van from Ventura County, where they stole $100 worth of gas, southbound to Orange County for the national holiday.
Phoenix-native Rudd, the 53-year-old driver with a history of drunk driving, was intoxicated and high on methamphetamine, and Kakos, a 57-year-old serial counterfeiter with a heavy rap sheet and four prison trips, was eagerly plotting ways to pass fake money in Newport Beach.
But, according to a U.S. Secret Service investigatory report obtained by the Weekly, the party ended when Rudd began driving erratically, missed the 55-freeway to Newport Beach, continued south on the 405, struck another vehicle near the I-5 at Oso Parkway and crashed.
Inside the Mission Viejo Medical Center's emergency room,
hospital staff performed a routine accounting of the couple's valuables, found a suspicious $3,265 in a black
purse and notified California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers who handled the crash.
CHP officers contacted the Santa Ana bureau of the Secret Service,
which determined that the pair carried 58 poor quality, fake bills
(mostly $100s) that had been created by an inkjet printing technique
using a laptop computer.
All of the bogus currency lacked the U.S. Treasury Department's security features including color shifting ink and genuine watermark, according to the Secret Service report.
Rudd and Kakos initially pleaded not guilty, eventually changed pleas and this month learned their punishments. Though she faced up to seven months in prison, Federal Judge John F. Walter followed
the wishes of prosecutors and gave Rudd a term of time served awaiting
In Kakos' case, prosecutors sought a 36-month prison term.
Walter, however, ordered him confined for 30 months. When he's released,
federal probation officials can test him for illegal drug use up to
eight times per month.
But there's little doubt we'll hear from Kakos again. He just can't help himself. Just two months after his OC arrest, he was caught possessing fake $100s in Napa.
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.