The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 5, 2012

Counterfeit money circulating around community

The Daily Southerner
MIRANDA BAINES

TARBORO — “Take a very good look at those $20 bills [in your wallet],” cautioned Lt. Bill Braswell of the Tarboro Police Department. The department has received several reports of counterfeit bills in circulation in the community.

Murphy Express service station on River Oak Drive reported that a customer came into the store on Oct. 24 and paid for gas using three counterfeit $20 bills. The customer claimed to have received the bills from the Wal-Mart in Rocky Mount, Braswell said.

“The bill was off in color, was not cut properly and had the same serial numbers,” Braswell said.

A manager at the Wendy’s restaurant on River Oak Drive confirmed that the store received a counterfeit $20 from a customer last week. The store’s general manager learned the bill was a counterfeit while depositing the money at the bank.

Braswell gave a word of advice on spotting a counterfeit bill:

“It’s going to be just a little bit faded. It’s not going to be as clear. If you see one suspicious, just call us.”

Another way to distinguish between a genuine and counterfeit bill is looking for red and blue fibers embedded throughout the bill. Counterfeit lines will be printed on the face of the bill, rather than being embedded in the paper, according to the U.S. Secret Service www.secretservice.gov

But poor color and problems with the fiber and counterfeit lines are not the problem in the case of several $100 discovered at a local bank.

“They are as good (of a counterfeit) as I have even seen during my career,” said one local banker. The key that raised suspicion on these bills were that “they felt funny … too slick.” According to the individual, the counterfeit lines were where they were supposed to be and the color on the bill, which included fabric, was good. When they were held up to inspect the watermark, it showed differently than it would on legitimate currency.

Braswell said the circulation of counterfeit currency has been a problem in Tarboro in the past, especially during the holiday season, when businesses are “in a rush” and might not have the time to check bills as they normally would. He said that during a license check a couple of years ago, the police department apprehended two people who had about $5,000 worth of counterfeit bills in their possession.

Cpl. Michael Lewis of the Rocky Mount Police Department said the circulation of counterfeit currency has been a recurring problem in the City of Rocky Mount, as well.

The Secret Service is investigating the counterfeit currency. To report a suspicious bill, call the police department at 641-4247.