GQ magazine has a great article profiling Frank Bourassa, the Canadian
counterfeiter of U.S. currency we discussed back in the May 18, 2014 issue. -Editor
WHEN YOU GET RIGHT down to it, even a mega-million-dollar international criminal caper is mostly
boring shitwork. As Frank Bourassa tells it, his own criminal masterpiece hinged on the events of
one morning in early December 2009, a morning he says he spent freezing his ass off in a parking
lot, staring through binoculars at the Port of Montreal. On the face of it, the shipment he was
waiting for was also dull stuff: boxes of blank paper, nothing more. If the customs agents were to
crack into the cartons, Frank was praying that mere paper was all they'd see.
Frank's buddies, in two separate cars, had been surveilling the parking lot for two days,
and though they didn't see anything out of the ordinary, he says he was uneasy, knowing that at
any time, a bunch of law-enforcement people might swoop down out of nowhere and snatch him up.
Frank was right to be paranoid. Indeed, a day would come when a bunch of law-enforcement people
would swoop down out of nowhere and snatch him up—but not today. Sensing the moment was right,
Frank made a call to another of his guys, a runner he'd hired, and gave him the green light to
pull his box truck through the security gates and into the port to load up the shipment.
Before long, the vehicle came rumbling out through the exit lane, and Frank, watching from a
distance, got about as excited as a person can get at the sight of a box truck. He had been
anticipating this day for nearly two years, though in a larger sense he had been anticipating it
since adolescence, when Frank Bourassa launched his varied and profitable career in the lawbreaking
sector. His résumé so far, he says, included but was not limited to petty larceny, grand larceny,
and grand dope smuggling. But this day marked the real beginning of the grandest, riskiest, most
potentially enriching scheme of Frank's life. The convoy now on the move, he and his crew fell
in behind the truck.
Frank says he called another friend of his who showed up with scanners and radio wands to check
the shipment for bugs. The crew opened the truck. On five wooden pallets sat the future of
Frank's criminal enterprise. It was paper of a special kind, made with the same rare
cotton-and-linen recipe used for printing American currency. It also bore watermarked images of
Andrew Jackson's face and security strips reading USA TWENTY in minuscule type.
The paper was the essential ingredient for fabricating high-grade counterfeit bills that the
Canadian police would later describe as "basically undetectable" from the real thing. As
soon as the security sweep pronounced the shipment clean, Frank welled up with optimism.
"There was no way to stop me from there. I knew I was rich," Frank recalled. "It was
the best day of my life." Frank now had what he needed to print hundreds of millions of
dollars' worth of fake U.S. currency—and to soon become the most prolific counterfeiter in the
history of the trade.
To read the complete article, see:
The Great Paper Caper
To watch a great video, see:
This Man Made $250M in Counterfeit Money and Got Away with It*
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
COUNTERFEITER FRANK BOURASSA
Wayne Homren, Editor
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