Counterfeiters hit several Downtown businesses

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March 28, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton

There's some funny money floating around Downtown. On just one day, March 22, Minneapolis Police got six reports of counterfeit $50s and $20s passed to retail businesses.

Two separate arrests were made that day; one Downtown and one in Uptown. The Downtown arrest was made at 7th Street and Hennepin Avenue, when a cabbie received a bad $20 bill and notified nearby police, said police officials.

First Precinct Inspector Rob Allen encouraged retail businesses to pay more attention when accepting bills worth $20 or more. There may be more incidents; police only learn about cases if businesses recognize and report counterfeit bills.

Many of the security devices on authentic bills are not present on the fakes, Allen said, such as the red, white and blue flag printed across the front of new $50 bills and the polyester micro-fiber strip that runs near the left side of larger bills. (On a $20 bill, for example, the strip appears as the words "USA Twenty," repeated.)

The printing on the counterfeits looks muddy, there are no distinct lines as on real bills, and, on one bill, the ink had bled through to the back, Allen explained.

The United States Secret Service handles counterfeit investigations, Allen said. He would not comment on the possibility that the bills are the work of a counterfeiting ring. He wasn't sure how the bills were made, or how long ago.