Another counterfeit cash victim in north Houston steps forward

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Yet another incident of someone buying a cell phone with counterfeit money. This time, part of the confrontation was caught on tape by a victim. Two of the incidents we told you about happened just miles apart from each other.

University of Houston student Mike Le says he tried to sell his iPhone recently at a shopping center near I-45 and FM 1960. Le says he handed a man his phone and the guy handed him the money in a bank envelope. But right away his gut feeling told him something was off.

"Well, it was four $100 bills in a Wells Fargo envelope. I glanced at it they put clear tape where the watermark tape is," Le said.

Le took a big chance. He kept talking to the couple and hit record on his other phone. Then, Mike grabbed his phone away from the man. Soon after, that couple took off with a toddler in their back seat.

On Wednesday night we reported the story of a mother-of-five duped by counterfeit money. She sold her iPhone at a shopping center on 1960 and Ella. We showed that mother the picture of Mike's counterfeit money.

She said, "With the blue strip it looks just like the $100 dollar that was passed to me, 'cause it was taped up," she said.

Criminal Defense Attorney Jed Silverman says he has worked plenty of cases involving counterfeit money.

"Think about it. If a person does that 10, 20 times a day, they have a pretty lucrative business and a lot of times people do these transactions, the phone number you're calling is a burned cell phone. Can't trace it back to any person," Silverman said.

There are some ways to spot fake money and protect yourself:

Check the watermark in the middle of the bill. The amount of the bill needs to match the number in the watermark. Counterfeit bills usually do no match up.
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