A Case of Corrupt Cash
This a photo taken by the Secret Service of the scanner used by the Missouri counterfeiter to produce fake cash.
The Secret Service uses a case out of Springfield, MO when they train people on counterfeiting. The case shows just how ingenious people can be when they want to fake US currency. They won't reveal the man's name, but they have given us a peek at his operation.
Equipped with a scanner, printer, and an off-set printing press, the Secret Service says the man converted his trailer home into a funny money factory. He produced high-quality bills that impressed agents. They were flawed - he printed on everyday printer paper and the detail was not as sharp as a real bill, but he also took precautions to make his fakes more believeable - he coated the bills with a substance that would defeat "counterfeit pens" which claim to be able to identify fake notes. To cover for the bad paper, he employed a unique technique that gave his forged bills a more authentic look; he'd wrap the bills up in wallets to give them an aged look and feel, agents say.
The man then drove across the country visiting fast food restaurants. He'd pay for a cheap hamburger and pocket the real change. The man kept detailed logs and maps of where he'd been and what he'd spent. He wouldn't visit the same area twice in the same year for fear of being caught. Secret Service agents say in his entire counterfeiting career, the man passed over $850,000.
Secret Service agents say in his entire counterfeiting career, the man made over $850,000.
Breaks and Tips Come Together for Agents
This is the trailer where the counterfeiter made his money and the car he used to drive around and spend it.
The counterfeiters scam couldn't last forever. A family member, wary of the man's activities, submitted his name to a Secret Service field office. They connected him with a case in Florida where a cashier received a phony bill from the man and documented his description and license plate number.
Agents caught up to the counterfeiter as he was driving his car in Missouri and pulled him over. In his car, officials found some incriminating evidence in his wallet - fake 20's. It was 1999 and the Secret Service finally had their man. Now he's serving a 10 year sentence, agents say.
It turns out the man was a fugitive who escaped from prison in 1985 while serving a term for, you guessed it, counterfeiting. He went back to his old tricks and spent 16 years on the run.
Agents say they've learned from this man's counterfeiting mistakes. They're also pleased that the general public played such a huge role in bringing him in.
The Missouri counterfeiter would wrap his bills up in wallets to give them an aged look and feel.