First Blood to Europol as 'Sly' forgers caught using Sylvester Stallone in fake passports scam
Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone might be an unlikely connection to an organised crime bust in Bulgaria, so pity the fools who used his details to advertise their forged passports on the black market.
Six suspected members of an organised crime group were arrested for counterfeiting money, passports and driving licences on Monday, following an investigation by Bulgarian authorities, supported by Europol and the US Secret Service.
A total 3,528 counterfeit €100 and €500 banknotes, equalling more than €417,000, were seized in the operation, along with 7,126 counterfeit $50 (€42), totalling €295,000. Three print shops were also closed - including one in a seaside resort, and two near the cities of Plovdiv and Shumen.
Perhaps the most surprising find, however, was a counterfeit passport with the full name and picture of Stallone.
The document, which shaved 11 years off the Rocky actor's date of birth, was said to be "very high quality with most of the security features perfectly falsified," according to Europol. It added that this was used to market the quality of the forgery.
Some of the suspects are also said to be connected to another crime group busted in 2018, and had been using a print shop that had previously been dismantled by Bulgarian authorities.