Green scheme: Police warn of fake money

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2005

"They're out there," Ironton police detective Jim Akers said.

What sinister thing was he referring to? Thieves? Robbers? Sort of.

His office is investigating several incidents of counterfeit money being spent at numerous local businesses.

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"They're hitting all over," Akers said. "We got three last night (Wednesday night) and two or three the night before (Tuesday night). The banks are even getting them. Rich Oil got some. Speedway got some."

The counterfeit money is mostly $20 bills, but Akers said other denominations could be in circulation as well. While the print job is fairly good, the paper used to print bogus bills is not the quality used to print true currency. But they tried.

Akers said the culprits even wadded up the paper they used to simulate age and wear and tear.

More than one person may be involved.

"We've got videos of several different people spending them," Akers said.

"I hope they catch 'em," Tom Kinney, manager of the Rich Oil gasoline station at Third and Monroe streets, said. His employees are now using a pen that, when marked across the face of a paper money, will detect counterfeits. "We're running it over all $20s now."

While pens are available to help detect fake currency, Akers said those in doubt may also look for the watermark that is visible when a bill is held up to a light source. He also advised that true currency has a metal strip embedded in it that is visible when the bill is held up to light.

Still not sure if the bill is fake? Real money is printed on metal plates that leave indentations in the paper during the printing process. These so-called "ridges" can be felt on newer money when one's fingernail is scratched against the

hair or clothing of the image on the bill. This is true of all paper denominations.

Akers said business operators and store clerks should be vigilant about counterfeit money and call the police department if they discover the money in their till is not real or if they have questions about how to detect counterfeit money. That phone number is 532-2338.