Local 4 Defenders: Experts weigh in on how to spot counterfeit cash

Fake money harder to detect than ever

By Kevin Dietz - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

DETROIT - Federal agents said counterfeit money is easier to obtain and harder to detect than ever.

Some fake bills are so well-made that it's difficult for experts to determine what is and isn't genuine currency, and it gets worse. The bills are no longer just being used by those who know how to create counterfeit money. Fake bills can be purchased on the deep web.

Kenneth London doesn't know how to make high-quality counterfeit money so he bought his for pennies on the dollar and once he had the fake bills he went on a shopping spree. He spent over $40,000 in fake bills at 40 different stores in metro Detroit.

Douglas Zloto is a special agent in charge of secret service in Detroit and he says the counterfeit cash London was using was extremely high quality. London and his crew would purchase merchandise and then return it to collect real money.

Federal authorities said you don't have to be an expert counterfeiter anymore to get your hands on quality fake bills. Thieves sell them on the deep web for 20 to 30 cents on the dollar.

"When we take that money back to the bank they don't know if it came from the customer or us. They won't accept the money, so we just take the loss," a local business owner said.

"That's the reason the prices of things are going up. That's why major retailer stores raise prices, to offset more security and theft," the business owner said.

Businesses need to work to make sure cashiers use special pens that can identify a fake bill. If you're a customer you need to be able to identify the feel or slight difference in real versus fake money.

London's attorney argued that he should do less prison time because he was purchasing the counterfeit money from someone else and not actually printing the fake bills himself. London was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison.

London was caught because a cashier and security worker realized the money was fake and called other branches in metro Detroit with a description of London.

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