Trends in Counterfeit Currency
It's getting worse:
More counterfeiters are using today's ink-jet printers, computers and copiers to make money that's just good enough to pass, he said, even though their product is awful.
In the past, he said, the best American counterfeiters were skilled printers who used heavy offset presses to turn out decent 20s, 50s and 100s. Now that kind of work is rare and almost all comes from abroad.
Green pointed to a picture hanging in his downtown conference room. It's a photo from a 1980s Lenexa case that involved heavy printing presses and about 2 million fake dollars.
"That's what we used to see," he boomed. "That's the kind of case we used to make."
Agents discovered then that someone had purchased such equipment and a special kind of paper and it all went to the Lenexa shop. Then the agents secretly went in there with a court order and planted a tiny video camera on a Playboy calendar.
They streamed video 24/7 for days, stormed in with guns drawn and sent bad guys to federal prison.
Green's voice sank as he described today's sad-sack counterfeiters.
These people call up pictures of bills on their computers, buy paper at an office supply store and print out a few bills. They cut the bills apart, go into a store or bar and pass one or two.
Many offenders are involved with drugs, he said, often methamphetamine. If they get caught, so little money is involved that federal prosecutors won't take the case.
It's interesting. Counterfeits are becoming easier to detect while people are becoming less skilled in detecting it:
Part of the problem, Green said, is that the government has changed the money so much to foil counterfeiting. With all the new bills out there, citizens and even many police officers don't know what they're supposed to look like.
Moreover, many people see paper money less because they use credit or debit cards.
The result: Ink-jet counterfeiting accounted for 60 percent of $103 million in fake money removed from circulation from October 2007 to August 2008, the Secret Service reports. In 1995, the figure was less than 1 percent.
Another article on the topic.
Posted on January 5, 2009 at 6:34 AM • 46 Comments