SEOUL — A U.S. soldier sentenced to 2½ years in South Korean prison for counterfeiting currency has appealed the sentence, according to his defense attorney.

Jin Hyo-keun told Stars and Stripes his client, Pfc. Allen E. Coates, appealed the Sept. 1 sentence given by Uijeongbu District Court Chief Judge Cho Yoon-sin.

“My client admitted to … the crime,” Jin said. “But the punishment is too heavy.”

Coates, of the 204th Signal Battalion, admitted to using a home scanner and printer to make 30 $20 bills, six $100 bills and 20 South Korean 10,000-won notes worth a little more than $10 each, legal officials have told Stars and Stripes.

Coates used the money for drinks and taxis in the Itaewon entertainment district in Seoul, police have said.

A taxi driver reported that a soldier gave him three forged 10,000-won bills to pay for a ride from Seoul to Camp Stanley early in early April. Coates confessed during questioning, police said, and nine more forged $20 bills were found in his Camp Stanley barracks room.

Prosecutors had sought a five-year jail term.

Jin said no date had been set yet for the appeal trial. USFK officials confirmed late Tuesday that Coates remains with his unit while appealing the sentence.

Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.

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