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Bossier City counterfeiting case highlights national trend - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Bossier City counterfeiting case highlights national trend

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The recent arrest and sentencing of a Bossier City man highlights a national trend: easier, cheaper faster counterfeiting with a regular ink-jet printer.

Dakota Mallory Robinson, 25, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release after his February arrest.

Investigators say Robinson was caught by a duplex maintenance worker making counterfeit money in his apartment with the door wide open to the public. When police searched the apartment, they found more than $2,000 in counterfeit $20 notes, a printer, uncut sheets of counterfeit $20 bills and other related items.

Related article: Bossier City man pleads guilty to counterfeiting

US Secret Service agents says it's an all too common situation.

KTBS 3's Sara Machi takes a look at how the process works and what police are doing to fight it.

Passing Notes

At Fatty Arbuckle's in Shreveport's Red River District, patrons pay more often with cash than debit or credit.

Owner Chase Boytim says in the eight years he's owned the bar, he's seen people try to pay with counterfeit currency.

"Typically bartenders are so busy and a lot of bars don't even carry the counterfeit pens," Boytim says.

Experts say counterfeiters target bars because they are fast-paced, with dim lighting, cash trades hands often and drinks are cheap so crooks get a lot of cash back on a fake $20. Sometimes counterfeiters will wait for peak hours at major retailers- like during the holiday season- to pass bills when cashiers are overwhelmed.

Changes in Counterfeiting

Secret Service Agent Darron Craft says the availably of cheap ink-jet printers has changed the counterfeiting industry.

"Over the past 15 years, with the emergence of the technology it has gotten a lot easier for the individuals to print and a lot tougher for law enforcement to keep up with them," Craft says.

The Secret Service Division was created in 1865 specifically to suppress counterfeit currency.

Although it's easier to make the fakes, Craft says it's also easier to spot them.

"I wouldn't say they're high quality" Craft says. "In fact, I think the quality has diminished over the years because you can go to your local retail stores [like] Walmart [and] Target and purchase an inkjet printer for $50. Within a matter of an hour or two you can print out a few hundred dollars."

Although certain technologies make counterfeiting cheaper, high-end commercial copiers are programmed to stop it. If you put a denomination of $5 or higher on newer office copy machines, the copier will often produce blacked-out bill.

"If you have the intent and the want to and you are dead set on passing counterfeit money and manufacturing it, with a little time and a little bit of money, you can be successful with it," Craft says.

Craft says there is currently about $1.17 trillion in federal reserve notes in circulation. In fiscal year 2012, the Secret Service seized about $82 million dollars in fake currency.

Preventing Forgeries

Craft says counterfeiting is a relatively small problem when you look at the bigger picture, but if you find a fake fifty or hundred in your wallet it can make be a significant dent to personal finances.

Experts have some tips for anyone who handles a lot of money.

  • Know all the hidden security features
  • Feel the bill. US currency is printed a paper that is 25% linen, 75% cotton. Some of the ink will be slightly raised, an effect hard to mimic.
  • The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear, unbroken and perfectly centered. On the counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.
  • Don't rely on a counterfeiting pen. The pens only detect problems with wood-based papers. In the past five years, agents have noticed counterfeiters will bleach the ink off a five and reprint it as a hundred dollar bill.
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