Counterfeiting is an age-old problem, one that law enforcement combats constantly. I see dozens of media reports daily and few are notable enough
to mention. Rare is the capture of a serious maker of high-quality counterfeits in quantity. Most incidents are run-of-the-mill poor homemade fake
bills, or these days, fake "practice notes" or "movie money" bought online.
This Washington Post article discusses a recent incident at an elementary school. This case involved "play money" brought to
school by one student that another student attempted to spend. -Editor
The trouble started after one second-grader gave another some of the play money she had brought to her suburban Maryland school. The classmate
tried to use it — a mock $100 bill — for lunch in the cafeteria, and before long, school security was involved. Then the Prince George's County
police were called.
Then, the U.S. Secret Service.
"They treated it like a counterfeit scheme," said Tamara McKinney, grandmother of the girl, then 7 years old, who brought in the bills, which were
realistic but clearly marked "fashion prop money," "copy money" and "the copy money shop of XDOWMO."
Attempting to pass fake notes is a crime, and we can't expect authorities to look the other way, even when the shover is a second grader. The
incident has to be investigated, and no one in this case was sent to the slammer. But parents are understandably concerned about elevating schoolyard
incidents to the level of a federal investigation. -Editor
In Maryland, police involvement at elementary schools has also become a flash point in Montgomery County, where an incident involving play money
led to a call to law enforcement on May 14.
In that case, a 10-year-old with learning disabilities shared mock $100 bills with friends on his school bus, and later a bus driver found a stray
bill. The driver told a supervisor, and police were summoned; the child was identified through a bus camera video recording, authorities say.
Soon, a county police officer was at the boy's elementary school, questioning him. The Secret Service — which deals with reports of counterfeit
money — was notified.
"Outrageous," the boy's mother, Tiffany Kelly, wrote in an online petition, asking why a call was made to law enforcement, rather than "a call to
School officials are working to improve their protocols. Should it matter how lifelike the copies are? I put "play money" in quotes
because today's cheap, high quality printing technology makes even notes clearly labeled as "play money" or "copy money"
awfully real-looking at first glance. These notes were bought online by the girl's older brothers. The school reported that a student attempted
to spend "counterfeit" money. Should they call it "play money"? Should they call authorities at all? -Editor
In Prince George's County, school system officials said police got involved at Catherine T. Reed Elementary School in Lanham — where the
second-graders had the play money — because of the way administrators reported the incident to school security offices: They called the money
"counterfeit." Security personnel called police.
Jennifer Donelan, a county police spokeswoman, said police investigated and notified the Secret Service, as is protocol with possible counterfeit
money. But the children were not arrested or questioned.
Perhaps some future researcher will compile a catalog of these things. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
The money was fake. The police were real. It happened in an elementary school.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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