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.
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.