A Marthasville man was sentenced to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for his part in a counterfeit money operation.Robert J. Ellis, 36, was sentenced March 15 by Presiding Circuit Court Judge Wes Dalton in a plea deal, according to online court records.Ellis and his wife, Samantha C. Ellis, 38, were arrested in early December 2017. They each were charged with three counts of forgery and two counts of possession of a forging instrument.The two allegedly ran a counterfeiting operation out of their home on Mill Street near Holstein, spreading a wave of fake bills in Marthasville and Washington.The fake bills were found at a number of area businesses on both sides of the river since March 2017. In August, Warren County deputies received information leading them to the suspect couple.Deputies searched the Ellis home Dec. 5 and located several items used to create the counterfeits, according to authorities, including a Hewlett Packard printer, ink cartridges, stencils, gold markers, gel pens and ink stamps.Deputies also seized a paper cutter, multiple sheets of counterfeit $20 bills, counterfeit checks and counterfeit identification cards.An investigator said the couple appeared to be experimenting with different kinds of paper. Police allege they used the printer to make copies of real bills, which could be identified because the copies had identical serial numbers.Washington police said the couple and their associates were the primary suspects in a rash of counterfeit bills discovered in the city last year.The Secret Service collects the counterfeit cash periodically to log serial numbers, police said.Hearings for the charges against Samantha Ellis are ongoing in the Warren County Circuit Court. She has an additional felony charge of possession of a controlled substance because a small bag of suspected methamphetamine was located in her purse along with counterfeit currency.Samantha Ellis’ next court hearing is April 18.