Pismo Beach man pleads guilty to counterfeiting cash

A Pismo Beach man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to counterfeiting U.S. currency following an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the plea by Kenneth Dwayne Choate, 51, who faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in May, a vendor at the Visalia Swap Meet reported to law enforcement that someone was passing counterfeit bills. The investigation, led by the Secret Service with the help of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, identified Choate, who was staying at an area motel, as the suspect.

Officers obtained a search warrant and searched Choate’s room, discovering more than $30,000 worth of fake bills, as well as printers, boxes of drafting paper, and printing and cutting supplies.

Choate is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 1.