Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Dennis J. Smith had a few questions for teenage counterfeit defendant John Adam Blake.
"How hard does your mother work?" Smith asked.
"Very hard," said Blake, 19.
"Why does she work?"
"To support me and my family," Blake said.
Smith told him that his participation in the counterfeit case with four other South Lakes graduates "is an insult to her and all other hardworking people. … Doing this undermines everything about our society."
SMITH SENTENCED BLAKE to two years and six months in prison for forging coin and bank notes, a felony, although he suspended the sentence for a period of 10 years.
Blake will be on probation for two years and must perform 100 hours of community service.
"This is a very serious crime," Smith said. "It affects the monetary system of the United States."
Although he won't have to serve jail time, the suspended sentence acts as a 10-year reminder for his participation in counterfeit. Blake could serve the jail time if he violates probation or commits any other crime in the 10- year duration of the suspended sentence.
"I WANT TO EXPRESS how deeply sorry I am for everything I've done … to the U.S. government, to my family and to the Reston community," he said. "I am embarrassed about what I've done."
Before he was sentenced, Blake told Smith that even though he has created a lot of obstacles for himself, "I feel I can be successful and contribute to society."
Blake did cooperate with federal authorities during the investigation against himself and four classmates at South Lakes. Blake also maintained a 3.1 grade point average in college, said Blake's attorney Danny C. Onorato. "Having this hanging over his head is not easy," Onorato said.