Bainbridge Counterfeiting Bust Prompts Warning from Police

By: Caroline Gonzmart Email
By: Caroline Gonzmart Email

Most people say they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a real $100 bill and a forged one.

A recent rash of counterfeit $100 bills has Bainbridge investigators telling shoppers to guard themselves -- and their money -- from scammers.

Six Bainbridge businesses and banks were hit by the counterfeiters on May 27.

Bainbridge Public Safety officers arrested Antonio Ward, Cynthia Akins, Shontae Akins, Paul Smith and Mary Baker after they say the group passed the bogus bills.

Officers say the scammers bleached $5 bills, then printed $100s over them.

They say there are a couple easy ways you can tell if a $100 bill -- or any denomination bill -- used to be something else.

Says case investigator Mark Esquivel, "If you hold it up to the light, you'd see the original picture of Abraham Lincoln, but of course, he's on the $5 bill, and it'd be a $100 bill over that."

Fake bills can cause a domino-effect of problems once they get into circulation.

Says Fred's customer Dierdra Glenn, "It's hard times and people are trying to use counterfeit bills, and then the person that's next in line will be the one that gets in trouble for it if they give it to someone else."

When you add the internet to the mix, it makes the problem even worse --- with millions of buyers on sites like Craigslist, it's easier now than ever to get scammed.

Havana, Florida resident Daniel Musgrove says he uses cash for most purchases.

Musgrove says, "If people can figure out how to make their own, why work? Why struggle if I can print it in the bathroom, or in the garage?"

Investigators say it's important to check your bills before leaving a store when you get change back.

They say this makes the store more likely to believe you're not a scammer yourself.

Investigators say the most commonly counterfeited bills are 20s and 100s.

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