Funny money warning in Galveston

Cynthia Marble with US Secret Service says they are seeing more cases of manufactured money, such as $5 bill being turned into a $100 bill

March 19, 2010 10:47:07 AM PDT
Galveston businesses need to be on the lookout for counterfeit money, specifically $5 bills that have been altered to look like $100 bills. Galveston police say the problem has been popping up during spring break. The department has dealt with six reports of counterfeit bills in two days.

Police say most of the discoveries were made late in the day after customers had already left. One merchant caught the bill immediately because the store had received a fake bill just the day before. They reportedly told the customer they wouldn't accept it, or return it, because they knew it was fake. The man claimed he obtained the bill when a man on the seawall asked him to break it, and the guy gave him about $80 in smaller bills.

Cynthia Marble with the US Secret Service says they're seeing more cases of manufactured money. That's described as turning real bills into fake bills of larger denominations using various chemical processes like bleaching. Marble adds they're not just being seen in Galveston, but all over the country, in many types of businesses, from fast food stores to malls.

The Secret Service offers some methods to detect counterfeit bills:

  • Hold a bill up to a light and look for a holograph of the face image on the bill. Both images should match. If the $100 bill has been bleached, the hologram will display an image of Abraham Lincoln, who appears on the $5 bills, instead of Benjamin Franklin.
  • Looking at the bill through a light will also reveal a thin vertical strip containing text that spells out the bill's denomination.
  • Business owners may request pamphlets about detecting bleached bills by calling the Secret Service field office at 713-868-2299.

    Forgery involving money is a third-degree felony, punishable from two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.


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