Coweta Crime

Counterfeit money common as yard sales, flea markets increase

by John A. Winters

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The U.S. Secret Service has provided brochures on how to tell if money is counterfeit.

The start of flea markets and yard sales is also bringing out a rash of counterfeit bills.

One local couple reported receiving five counterfeit $20 bills while working their stand recently at the Franklin Road Flea Market on Newnan’s west side.

“It’s aggravating to us,” said Rose Gilley. “It seems these evil people are hitting flea markets and yard sales.”

Her husband, who can only use one eye, was able to spot two of the bills. However, when he went to the bank the next day, the teller found three more.

“There’s a lady there who’s in a wheelchair, and she said a young white kid about 16 tried to buy a dollar item from her, but she had a pen to detect that the bill was fake. Had she not had this pen the kid would have received $19 in change.

“We know it wasn’t just one person,” Gilley added. “It seemed like there’s a gang floating around out there and that’s not good. The lady at the bank said they are getting hundreds of dollars of counterfeit bills, mainly from flea markets and garage sales.”

With advancements in printer technology, it is becoming easier to print reasonably good counterfeit money.

The biggest problem for counterfeiters is the paper.

The counterfeit detection pen contains an iodine solution that reacts with starch in wood-pulp based paper to create a black stain. However, when it is applied to fiber-based paper used in real bills, no discoloration occurs.

The pen can detect certain low quality counterfeit bills — namely ones people try to make with copiers and regular copy paper. It can’t detect high-end counterfeit bills using similar fiber as real U.S. currency.

There are various ways to detect counterfeit money, one of the best is simply the feel. U.S. currency is done with intaglio printing, meaning there is an actual imprint on the money and you can feel it.

Newer currency also has color-shifting ink. Look at the lower right-hand corner of the bill’s face. There is a printed numeral, and tilting the bill back and forth will show a change in color.

The U.S. Treasury Department is constantly working on ways to make money harder to counterfeit.

This October, the department is expected to unveil a new $100 bill. It will be only the fourth time the $100 bill has changed — but it has changed three times in the last 20 years.

The new bill includes a 3-D ribbon that moves when the bill is tilted. Other parts of the bill will change from copper to green when it’s tilted. 

The federal government said the latest technology changes took more than a decade to perfect.

Last summer, two Atlanta men were arrested for using counterfeit $50 bills to purchase food at fast-food restaurants along Bullsboro Drive in Newnan. 

Newnan Police were called to the Krystal restaurant in Shenandoah Plaza on Bullsboro after the manager reported two suspects had given them a fake $50 bill, according to statements in a police officer’s report.

The manager gave a description of the suspects’ clothes, as well as what vehicle they were driving. That vehicle later was located on Bullsboro Drive at a gas station and the manager identified them as the suspects. 

Detectives found food from Arby’s and McDonald’s and went to those locations to see if other counterfeit bills were used.

A fake $50 bill was found at the McDonald’s.

Kendall Jaman Wright, 25, and Darrico Morris, 24, were each charged with forgery and possession of a weapon during commission of a crime, according to Coweta County Jail records.

That incident led many area stores to stop accepting larger bills.



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