WACO (November 11, 2013) Waco police are searching for suspects connected to at least three local counterfeiting cases in which smaller bills were bleached, re-inked, and passed off as $100 bills to purchase items listed in Craigslist.
Authorities discovered the scheme after investigating a series of reports of counterfeit bills from local stores and gas stations.
Investigators questioned the customers who had the bogus bills and discovered they had all sold something via Craigslist.
“In these situations, the people we thought were the perpetrators told us they had sold items like an iPod, an iPad, or a laptop to someone on Craigslist where that person paid for the item in cash,” Waco police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said.
“The bills given by the buyer were actually $1 or $5 bills that were bleached and re-inked to look like $100 bills. To any normal person, they wouldn’t know the difference.”
The bogus bills were used to pay for the items listed on Craigslist, many of which were sold for $200 to $300, police said.
According to Swanton, the counterfeit cash police are dealing with is so realistic, that a pen used to test the bills before they’re put into the cash register won’t even reveal that it’s fake.
They are urging the public to be diligent if they are selling items for cash.
“In some of these situations the individuals selling these items on Craigslist are out of the money they received and the perpetrators in this situation just got a pricy item for as low as $1,” Swanton said.
The new $100 bill released into circulation last month has new security features that are specifically designed to cut counterfeiting schemes such as this.
When the washed counterfeit bills are accepted as legal U.S. tender, tracking those responsible for creating the fake bills becomes very difficult.
If more cases arise, Swanton says Waco police will seek help from the U.S. Secret Service, which specializes in counterfeiting cases throughout the country.
Investigators are asking anyone with information to call the Waco Police Department at (254) 750-7500.