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Fake and Counterfeit bills trickle into Southwest Florida

Posted at 10:52 PM, Nov 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 22:58:40-05

It’s not just money being printed on home inkjet printers.

"These notes were involved in a Craig's list transaction, where they were used to purchase a motor vehicle and slipped in between legitimate bills,” said Charlotte County Sheriff’s Corporal Paul Guyton.

Guyton has seen it all in his years as a certified fraud examiner for the agency.

"This is a motion picture note,” he said as he held up a fake 20.  “It's a prop, It's what you see blown up in movies."

That's not the only fake bill investigators have seen acting as real money.  Counterfeit money from other countries has made its way to Southwest Florida, including as far away as Turkey.

"How many times have you come across a note where someone has printed a smiley face, stamped it,” said Guyton, who gets 2 to 3 complaints per month.

He says you can spot a fake by comparing weight the weight of the bill.  If the note seems flimsy, it’s likely a fake.

"If you are to reflect it to the light, you are going to see that there is a reflection in the number, the same with the eagle and shield,” said Guyton.

If you can't see either of those features, plus the presidential seal the bill is a fake.

Not everyone who passes counterfeit money knows the bills are fake, but the ones who do it, pick a time of day when the cashier is busy or distracted

"These counterfeiters don't go and try to pass a note and 10:00 on a Sunday morning,” said Guyton.

Corporal Guyton says many of the people running counterfeit rings, are also involved in other illegal activities including drug trafficking.