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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 21, May 21, 2006, Article 22

LOS ANGELES THE COUNTERFEIT CASH CAPITAL?

According to a May 15 report in the LA Daily News, the counterfeit
cash capital of the United States is Los Angeles, and a stripper is
a "savvy business person."  The writer has done a nice job - the
article is very thorough in covering the subject, and includes
interviews with both Secret Service and Bureau of Engraving and
Printing personnel.  Here are some excerpts:

"In her first 25 minutes at a Studio City nightclub, the customer
ordered two glasses of wine, making each purchase with a $100 bill.

The club owner noticed right away that something wasn't quite right
with the bill his employee brought him. It had the magnetic strip,
and Ben Franklin's face looked good at first glance, but it lacked
the normal grainy feel of real money.

"When I looked closer, the face wasn't as clear as it should be,"
he recalled. "The harder I looked at it, the magnetic strip didn't
look embedded but printed. I had to stare at the thing a good 30
seconds before I knew it was fake."

Although most people don't know it, Los Angeles is the counterfeit
capital of the U.S. In 2005, more than $6 million in counterfeit
money was successfully passed in the Los Angeles area, and the
Secret Service seized an additional $2 million before it was ever
used.

"The owner called 911, and police arrived just as the customer
was getting ready to leave. In her car, police found $14,000 in
fake hundreds, seven stolen Colombian passports and an unloaded
gun."

"Just six months ago, a counterfeiting investigation that began
in Los Angeles resulted in the dismantling of an operating in
Guadalajara, Mexico, that produced millions of dollars of
high-quality counterfeit money on an offset press."

"... the big break came when a savvy business person - a stripper
who received $400 for a lap dance - recognized the bills as
forgeries and alerted the police."

"A good counterfeiter is as much an artist as a criminal, and
they are rarely violent. When Chapa sits down to interview printers,
the villains are usually excited to talk about their craft with
someone who appreciates their work."

"The government plans to introduce new $20s, $50s and $100s every
seven to 10 years. A team of chemists and scientists is always
looking for new ways to thwart counterfeiters.

"Let me tell you, it's a whole lot of fun," said Judith Diaz Myers,
associate director of technology at the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing. "We wash notes, we crumple notes, we do all sorts of tests."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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