Funny money

No laughing matter for merchants

Businesses in the Rockdale area, and all of Central Texas, are asked to be on the alert after seven counterfeit bills were passed last week.

“ There were a total of two 10o-dollar bills, three 20s and two 10s,” Lt. J. D. Newlin of the Rockdale Police Department said.

Newlin said the bills were reported at three businesses, two in Rockdale and one in Milano.

“ These were printed on an ink-jet printer and the paper is not high quality,” Newlin said. “It’s just plain old printer paper.”

He said virtually anyone could identifythebillsasfakejustby examining them.

“The paper doesn’t feel like money and when you inspect it, hold it up to the light, you can tell its counterfeit,” he said. “It doesn’t have the ID strip on it, doesn’t have the red and blue fibers.”

A similar round of inkjet-generated counterfeit bills was passed in Rockdale in July, 2012, almost exactly one year ago.

Newlin said the latest round of “funny money” isn’t nearly as sophisticated as counterfeit bills which were passed in Rockdale in December, 2010, by a counterfeiting group which obviously knew what they were doing.

“They had scrubbed all the ink off $5 bills, leaving them with the correct paper, then re-printed as $100s.

That enabled the funny money to escape many detection devices, but not all.

Newlin said bills have a hidden image in the lower right hand corner and for five-dollar bills it’s Abraham Lincoln. “You would hold those fake $100s up and see an image of Lincoln instead of Benjamin Franklin who is on the $100.”

Also, there’s a hidden strip on a bill halfway between the edge and the presidential portrait. The strip spells out the denomination of the bill.

Obviously, the fake bills being passed last week have neither.

Anyone who comes across a counterfeit bill, of any degree of sophistication, is asked to contact the Rockdale Police Department at 512-446-3436.

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