SPOKANE, Wash. — A leader of the Ku Klux Klan in California has been linked to a counterfeiting conspiracy involving three residents of northern Idaho, it was reported Tuesday.
Tape recordings made secretly by a deceased FBI informant implicate Bill Albers, imperial wizard of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in California, in a conspiracy to distribute counterfeit money, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported in a copyrighted story.
The newspaper said its sources spoke on the condition that they not be identified.
However, Gene Thompson, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service office in San Francisco, told the newspaper: "What you know is accurate."
Albers' name surfaced in 10 hours of tape recordings made by the late Ted Lewis of San Jose and provided to the FBI, the newspaper quoted its sources as saying.
The 32 tape cassettes were turned over Monday for pretrial review by defense lawyers representing David Ross Dorr, 35, Edward Wade Hawley, 22, and his wife, Olive Hawley, 27. Their trial on counterfeiting charges, set for Jan. 27, has been moved to Tucson, Ariz.
Albers, 41, of Modesto, Calif., attended the World Aryan Congress last summer at Hayden Lake, Ida. The newspaper said Albers was photographed with Edward Hawley.
Prosecutors said that Dorr and the Hawleys have ties to the white supremacist Church of Jesus Christ Christian (Aryan Nations) based near Hayden Lake.
Albers has not been charged, nor has Dorr's wife, Deborah, who is identified by the federal government as a co-conspirator in the counterfeiting case. David Dorr, Edward Hawley and Robert Pires also are charged with three bombings and one attempted bombing last September in Coeur d'Alene, Ida.
Counterfeit $20 bills allegedly were mailed by Dorr last summer to Lewis, who acted as a go-between and intended to deliver the money to Albers, according to the newspaper's sources.
Albers had advanced genuine money for the bogus bills at about 20 cents on the dollar, the newspaper reported. But when the counterfeit money arrived from Idaho, it was seized by FBI agents in California to keep it from getting into circulation.
Albers was given genuine money by undercover agents who told him that the bogus bills were of poor quality and could not be easily passed, the sources told the newspaper.