A former U.S. Secret Service agent appeared in federal court Thursday on charges he stole seized counterfeit currency, passed a $100 bill at a gas station, and later made false statements about his crimes.
If convicted on all counts, Anthony Preissig faces up to 35 years in federal prison.
According to the federal indictment, Preissig, 47, of St. Johns County, was a Secret Service special agent assigned to investigate violations of federal criminal laws. Using his position in 2011, he stole more than $1,000 in counterfeit U.S. currency that the Marion County Sheriff's Office had seized and submitted to the Secret Service's Jacksonville office, according to the indictment.
Preissig then took a counterfeit $100 bill and tried to use it at a gas station in St. Johns County, according to the indictment, and when confronted, he lied to law enforcement agents about his crimes.
Preissig retired from the Secret Service in 2012.
"Whenever a law enforcement officer engages in illegal activity, it erodes the public trust," said David Nieland, special agent in charge of the Miami Field Office, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General. "Such actions by few can tarnish the badges of the many who serve to protect America each day. Corruption remains a top priority of the DHS OIG and we remain committed to holding those who violate the public's trust accountable for their illegal actions."
At his first appearance Thursday afternoon, Preissig told the judge he is undergoing psychodynamic therapy because he suffers from bipolar disorder and is manic depressive and has obsessive-compulsive disorder. He also told the judge he wanted to represent himself.
The judge ordered Preissig released under following conditions: $50,000 signature bond; report to pretrial services as directed; remain at current home; restrict travel to the Middle District of Florida; surrender passport by 1 p.m. Friday; remove all firearms from home; undergo mental health evaluation and counseling; submit to drug testing and drug education and treatment if necessary; not commit any new offenses; and appear at all court dates.
Arraignment and a competency hearing was set for Wednesday to determine if Preissig is fit to represent himself.