CENTRAL TEXAS (June 11, 2014) Counterfeiting money has become an art all too easy to perfect thanks to laser printers and high tech computer software; a common headache for area police who are seeing bogus bills turn up at their offices more and more recently.
Case reports released to News 10 show that in 2013, 143 counterfeit cases were filed with Waco Police, 40 with Temple Police, and 149 with Killeen Police. Waco Police added they’ve seen 31 so far this year.
The bills stumping stores and consumers are often $1 and $5 bills bleached and re-printed by a forger using a computer to look like $20 and $100 bills.
Once the bills are in circulation, Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton says tracking down the forger is never easy.
“If you can get into the market of printing money, and you can get someone to take that money then you can turn a good profit pretty quick," Swanton said.
Swanton and detectives from Waco Police were responsible for squashing a Craigslist counterfeit scheme in April where five people were arrested after locating mostly electronic items for sale on the website, meeting with the owners and purchasing the items using counterfeit cash.
He added that Waco Police will often release surveillance videos on Facebook to ask the public for help with identifying someone who passed a bogus bill at a store or business.
While sometimes those endeavors end in arrests, often the person caught passing the bill had no idea they were in possession of counterfeit money.
Swanton said some who were duped didn’t get their money back, and encourages any consumer, especially in Central Texas, to check their cash if they’re selling a pricy item or making a purchase.
"What makes us wonder is how many of those bills are still out there that are not getting turned over to us, and you figure there's got to be more," Swanton said.