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Counterfeit money surging in Conway

Posted: July 31, 2014 - 2:15pm
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Counterfeit currency collected by the Conway Police Department. (CPD evidence photo)
Counterfeit currency collected by the Conway Police Department. (CPD evidence photo)

There’s a lot of counterfeit money changing hands in Conway in the last few days, and merchants and shoppers are urged to take a close look at their bills.

So far, the counterfeit bills have been passed — sometimes successfully — at local McDonald’s, Bear’s Den, Domino’s and Fu Lin restaurants, at a Murphy Oil gas station and at Conway Corp. A woman got a fake $20 with her change from the Salem Road Kroger on Monday (the manager checked the money in the register and gave her a real $20 when she came back), and a German Town Apartments maintenance worker found several fake $20s outside an apartment, some of which hadn’t been cut out of the sheet they were printed on.

$20, $50 and $100 bills have been collected as evidence.

Real money is printed on paper made from cotton and linen, unlike office paper that is made from plant cellulose. The types of paper “feel” different, and markers used to detect a fake bill use ink that chemically reacts with cellulose but not cotton or linen.

Some of the counterfeit money going around is printed on regular cellulose paper, Det. Brian Williams said, and it’s fairly easy to tell these by feel. But some are made by bleaching $1 or $5 bills and printing $50s or $100s on them. These will pass the marker test, “but they don’t look as good as genuine currency and you’ll probably still see some ink from the $5,” Williams said.

Also, two counterfeit $100s collected by CPD have "For Motion Picture Use Only" printed on them and without the language "Federal Reserve Note." This is "prop money," which can legally be bought online. In addition to bearing language saying it's for movies or "not legal tender," prop money isn't — and legally can't — be an actual copy of genuine bills. The artists who design a prop $100, for example, draw their own Ben Franklin (with varying success) and might draw different buildings on the notes.

The descriptions of the suspects who have passed, or tried to pass, counterfeit bills vary. They have been males and females of several ethnicities, Williams said.

The U.S. Secret Service investigates counterfeit currency claims, and “they’ve been made aware of the magnitude of the problem here,” Williams added. “The main thing is to know it’s out there and for business owners to tell their employees that it’s out there.”

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mikeng1994
0
Points
mikeng1994 07/31/14 - 03:48 pm
2
0
If you unknowingly spend a

If you unknowingly spend a fake bill that you received from somewhere, are you guilty of counterfeiting?

Joe Lamb
327
Points
Joe Lamb 07/31/14 - 04:30 pm
2
0
Good question. Probably not.

Good question. Probably not. The elements of the offense include "a purpose to defraud." A.C.A. § 5-37-201(a).

This is a knowledge element, meaning that if you pass the bill in good faith and don't know, or have reason to know, it is counterfeit you shouldn't be prosecuted.

It's hard to prove this knowledge element, but It'd help someone avoid being charged if they could say where they got the counterfeit bill (change from a certain store, for example) as evidence that they held the bill in good faith.

conwaygerl
6210
Points
conwaygerl 07/31/14 - 05:06 pm
2
0
hmmm

"if they could say where they got the counterfeit bill"

Hot off the printer, officer!

lachowsj
5566
Points
lachowsj 08/01/14 - 06:58 am
4
0
I asked a friend

I asked a friend if he could break a ten dollar bill. He said sure and gave me back a seven and a three. I told him something was fishy because I never heard of a three dollar bill. He said no problem and gave me three genuine Kennedy silver dollars, two Teddys and a Jackie.

So you just have to be careful.

jdraper
2557
Points
jdraper 08/01/14 - 02:42 pm
0
0
Learn the anti-counterfitting features

It's not that hard to learn the signs of a real bill:
• Check for the color-changing foil stamp that changes as you tilt the bill.
• Hold the bill to the light and find the watermark of the portrait on the bill.
• Also while held to the light, find the strip running through it that says "USA" and the denomination of the bill.
• On the new $100s, check that holographic stripe on the front.

You can also check for the other features, like micro-printing, but that should be plenty. Those markers won't help if they bleached $1s or $5s and printed on that paper. If you know what to look for, it doesn't take long to verify it's real. I'll admit I don't usually check $20s and lower, but I always look at $50s and $100s when they show up at work, and I tell my employees to do the same.

You can see all the details for each bill here:
http://www.newmoney.gov/uscurrency/default.htm

conwaygerl
6210
Points
conwaygerl 08/01/14 - 03:38 pm
4
1
That's a lot of work

The better idea.

1) Ban counterfeit money.
2) Put up signs that create "counterfeit money-free" zones in buildings and businesses. Signs that read "no counterfeit-money allowed"

It works for guns. Problem Solved.

lachowsj
5566
Points
lachowsj 08/02/14 - 09:00 am
0
0
An even better idea

1) Arm all clerks.
2) Put up signs that say anyone caught counterfeiting will be shot.

It has stopped all crimes (and brought about world peace). Problem solved.

conwaygerl
6210
Points
conwaygerl 08/02/14 - 01:45 pm
3
0
You mock me

But in the 1980s tommy Robinson placed armed deputies in convenience stores.

Once a few armed robbers were put down, crime rates dropped precipitously.

lachowsj
5566
Points
lachowsj 08/02/14 - 05:09 pm
1
4
Selective memory

I don't remember Tommy Robinson causing any drop in the crime rates. (Please correct me if you have hard statistics that show otherwise.) I do remember an incident of an innocent store clerk in Little Rock participating in the program and being shot to death. And I do remember Robinson being able to parlay his demagoguery into a seat in Congress. At that time I was living in California when I happened upon him being interviewed by Charlie Rose who was doing a late night CBS news show called Nightwatch. Charlie began the interview by asking Robinson how he liked Washington D.C. Robinson said words to the effect that it would be okay if he could find a cab driver that could speak English. Sitting by myself, I remember feeling my face turn red with embarrassment for my home state. Now all these decades later he is brought up as a positive example. Jeez, some things never change.

conwaygerl
6210
Points
conwaygerl 08/02/14 - 07:27 pm
2
0
Accuses selective memory

Mentions one innocent victim.....while forgetting how big Pulaski county is and the problem with deadly store robberies that caused the need in placing deputies in stores in the first place.

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