(This is the third post in our counterfeit money series. The U.S. dollar printing machinery that allows use of rainbow color-changing ink can also create some extremely fine printed detail. On close inspection, the portraits on $100 dollar bills particularly reveal curved lines and even "hidden" writing.
In another case highlighting just how widespread is the use of "washed notes", the Sacramento Bee reported today that a Lodi man had been sentenced to 30 months in prison for making and distributing over $277,000 worth of counterfeit money.
Ever since this past winter, we have been hearing from all sorts of businesses that the East Coast of the U.S. has been getting "slammed" with counterfeit money, including new $100 bills.
Every day in the business world, organizations strive to be the best. They work to identify the Who's Who in their industry, understand how their competitors achieve success, and then strive to find ways to gain similar results by doing it better, faster, and cheaper.
Pity poor David Lipin. He cashed a $1000 USPS Money Order at a local post office and got a wad of counterfeit bills, according to the L.A. Times. He didn't know they were fake; and presumably the post office clerk didn't know they were fake. But the gas station attendant on Lipin's next stop immediately did -- and called police.
Now Lipin is out a grand, even though it was handed to him by a government institution. The Times quotes Wayne Williams, who oversees the L.A. office of the Secret Service (which is part of the Treasury): "The post office operates as a business. It takes in money from customers. Postal workers don't really have special equipment or training to spot fake money." And he's talking about government employees here.
Moral of the story? Well, there's several. Most obviously, even the experts can be fooled. The guilty post office failed at least two chances to catch the forged bills -- once when taking them in and then again when handing them out.
More importantly, the government seems to put the burden of false money on the accepting party. Quoting Williams again, "Unfortunately, counterfeit money is like a hot potato. Whoever ends up with it last is the victim." It is your responsibility as a business, as an individual consumer, to ensure the cash is real. The buck does literally stop with you.
For years, fraudsters have been efficiently producing credible counterfeit money using nothing more than over the counter materials and basic home-publishing equipment.