January 27, 2023
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The St. Charles police are taking tough action.

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A St. Louis man accused of making and selling fraudulent temporary license plates was arrested last week following an investigation by local authorities and the Secret Service.

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Mario S. Cooks, 34, faces six charges of fraudulently transferring an authentication function.

Cooks’ indictment alleges that between June 28 and December 6, he affixed a false watermark and a false seal from the Missouri Department of Revenue to temporary vehicle number tags.

The Secret Service was among the agencies that ransacked Cook’s house in the Mark Twain area, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office. Authorities seized computer equipment, forged temporary vehicle documents, and forged title deeds from the Cooke home.

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The search warrant statement said the Secret Service opened an investigation into Cooke after it became known to the St. Charles police that Cooks had been selling both fake timestamps and fake Missouri license plates.

Cooks subsequently sold some of his fraudulent merchandise, including a fake insurance card, to an undercover cop.

Thomas Landry, special agent in charge of the US Secret Service field office in St. Louis, says that Cooks’ arrest “thwarted a sophisticated criminal activity designed to defraud the state of Missouri.”

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While the Secret Service is best known for protecting the president, it is also often the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating crimes involving counterfeiting and other types of counterfeiting.

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