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Trooper says counterfeits are 'common'

October 04, 2000

Trooper says counterfeits are 'common'



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Area police said they have received complaints about counterfeit money being passed at area businesses this year.

The Charles Town Police Department has received four complaints about counterfeit money in the last six months and West Virginia State Police have received several complaints since last winter, officers said.

With the advent of computers and the precision printers that can be used with them, making counterfeit money has become much easier, said Trooper Geoff Petsko.

"It's amazing how much counterfeit money is around," Petsko said Wednesday. "It's pretty common."

Some counterfeit money is of poor quality and can be detected easily, Petsko said. For example, some counterfeit bills are printed only on one side, he said.

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But some counterfeit money produced on a good jet printer is so good that it is hard to tell it is fake sometimes, Petsko said.

Petsko said that just last week, a fast-food restaurant on U.S. 340 north of Charles Town had received a counterfeit $20 bill. Around January, several businesses complained to state police that counterfeit money was being presented to them, Petsko said.

Charles Town Police Cpl. Steve Harris declined to say which four businesses had received counterfeit money over the last four months.

Despite the federal government's move to redesign some bills to prevent counterfeiting, the fake bills showing up locally have been the new versions, said city and state police.

The roughly $2,000 worth of counterfeit money confiscated at a house in Ranson last Saturday were versions of the new $20 and $100 bills, Charles Town Police Chief Mike Aldridge said.

The new bills have a tannish strip on one edge that is visible when the bill is held up to light, Aldridge said. Although the strip is easy to see, it is possible for a business that handles a large volume of money to accept a counterfeit bill if employees are not looking closely at the money, Aldridge said.

Managers at two area fast-food restaurants said they have seen counterfeit money at their establishments.

A manager at Wendy's restaurant at 607 E. Washington St. said officials at the bank where the restaurant makes deposits notified her that a $20 bill in one of the deposits was counterfeit.

The bill was discovered about two weeks ago, said the manager, who did not want to be identified.

Over the past month and half, employees at the restaurant identified as counterfeit three $20 bills with which people were attempting to pay, the manager said.

Workers told those people that the bills could not be accepted, the manager said.

About a month ago, store workers at the nearby Taco Bell in the Jefferson Crossing shopping center spotted a counterfeit $5 bill that had already been accepted, said a manager.

Workers noticed the bill after a special pen used to identify counterfeit bills made a black mark on the bill.

When legal bills are marked with the pen, the mark is yellow, the manager said.

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