Associated Press Man charged with three counts of forgery

BUTTE (AP) - A Bozeman man is on trial in federal court here for allegedly possessing a false federal reserve notes with a purported face value of $600 million, as well as false certificates for gold and silver.

Edward Howick, 62, a retired Utah attorney, was charged with three counts of forgery after Secret Service agents searched his Bozeman residence last October and discovered the documents.

He allegedly possessed a half-billion-dollar federal reserve note, a fictitious $100 million federal reserve note and nearly $5,000 in counterfeit 1935-series gold and silver certificates.

The case is being heard before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean said in opening statements that Howick's home was searched when a customs official in Anchorage, Alaska, became suspicious of a Federal Express package to Howick labeled "Legal Documents," and coming from the Philippines.

McLean said the official opened the package and discovered the gold and silver certificates, which appeared fake.

Customs contacted the Secret Service, which sent an agent dressed as a Federal Express employee to deliver the package to Howick. When Howick accepted, agents obtained a search warrant and found the documents in his home.

Tony Gallagher, Howick's attorney, contends his client never attempted to negotiate the federal reserve notes or the certificates. Gallagher said Howick was trying to authenticate them as a favor to a friend living in the Philippines.

In a statement Howick gave agents in October, the defendant claims the notes and the certificates came from a military plane that crashed in the Philippines during World War II.

Howick's acquaintance in the Philippines got the federal reserve notes and gold and silver certificates - neither attorney said how - and asked Howick to authenticate them.

Howick faces up to 65 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines if convicted.

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