Authorities warn businesses, consumers that counterfeit bills are circulating in big numbers here

Posted March 6, 2019 at 9:31 am

Businesses in town should beware and be on alert, according to Clinton County Sheriff Jeff Vincent and Albany Police Chief Chris Neal. Counterfeit bills have been circulating inside the county and it’s getting hard to tell the real from the fake.

“They are running around everywhere and we probably don’t even know the extent of it,” Vincent said. “The city has a bunch of them, I have a bunch of them. Somebody is making copies of them now. That’s pretty obvious at this point. I’ve got some here that are copies and you can tell.”

Vincent said he has several warrants on people and a couple of them have been picked up.

“Several of them are on the run,” Vincent said. “This one guy bought a truck … an $800 truck and paid with fake bills. Some of them are getting bold enough to make copies of them and passing them along.”

Vincent said some of the bills he had, had the same serial number on them, which is one reason he believes they have been copied.

“You can tell by the way they feel and they have no mark in the middle of the bill,” Vincent said. “The first counterfeit bills I saw come in, I’ll be honest with you, they looked pretty good. I might have even took one if someone offered me one. They looked pretty good.”

Not only have the bills been passed from person to person, but they have also made their way into the businesses in Albany, including Majors Pizza and Burger King/Exxon.

“It’s not a complicated outfit or organization who is doing it, but if you will really scrutinize your bills and use your pens, look for the safety mark and they are pretty identifiable as counterfeit if you do all that,” Vincent said. “It’s just been hundreds that I’m aware of.”

Both Neal and Vincent mentioned the fact that anyone can purchase counterfeit money on-line.

Neal demonstrated on his phone where anyone can pull up fake money on eBay and buy it. In some in cases, $20,000 of counterfeit money or fake money can be purchased for less than seven dollars.

Neal believes most of the bills circulating in Albany is “prop” money.

“Some of it has Chinese writing on it and it will usually be on the back of it. What they do is tear a hole in the bill to where that writing has been torn off,” Neal said. “It’s not illegal to possess, but it’s illegal if you try to pass it off as real money.”

Neal said it’s really hard to tell on some of the bills.

“A lot of them will even mark right,” Neal said. “It’s scary to think about.”

Many of the bills that anyone can purchase have marks on them that distinguish them from real money, however, those who are trying to pass those for real money are taking the marks off.

“Those first ones are probably still out there, but what they’ve done is someone has copied,” Vincent said. “I’m no expert on this counterfeiting business, but some of them are hard to tell if they are real or not. I’ve got a tip on who was supposed to be doing the copying and them folks just seem to want to stay hid from me.”

Vincent said he has taken almost $1,200 worth of counterfeit bills.

“I have several warrants out for a couple of people with the charge of possession of a counterfeit instrument, which is the counterfeit money they have passed,” Vincent said. “If people don’t have a legitimate source to where their money comes from, then they will be charged with a felony.”

Vincent says businesses need to be aware of these bills passing through Albany.