Counterfeit $20's passed in Tulsa

Tuesday, November 4th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Someone counterfeited two new $20 bills and passed them at a Tulsa convenience store early Tuesday morning.

Even though the bills were designed to be more secure, police say they're not surprised the phony money surfaced.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says these bills have only been out for about a month, but counterfeiters wasted no time trying to copy them. The bad news is they're doing it, the good news is, and most of them aren't very good at it.

The new $20 bills carry a number of security features. But apparently not enough to prevent criminals from trying to copy them. If you compare the phonies to the real thing, you can see the color of ink is off and a number of the symbols are blurry rather than distinct. Police say counterfeits are usually easy to spot. Tulsa Police Detective Rick Koch: "The touch, the feel of he paper is not the same, the borders are unevenly cut an the color shifting ink now goes from green to copper as opposed to green to black."

The new bills also have a watermark and a security threat that you can see when you hold it up to the light. There are new symbols of freedom on the new bill and a blue eagle behind President Jackson's head. The fact is the government never promised our money would be counterfeit proof. So you might wonder why bother putting all the security features in the money.

They're simply trying to make it as hard as possible for the criminals. "The analogy is that you want to keep burglars out of your house, the more locks you have on your door, the harder it is.” Koch says as long as there's been money; there have been counterfeiters.

So to cut down on the problem, citizens have a responsibility to know what to check for and to take time to check their money. The new $50's will be out next year and the new $100's will be out in 2005. They're still thinking about redesigning the $5 and $10's but don't plan to redesign the $1 or $2 bills.

Not just passing, but just knowingly possessing a counterfeit bill is a federal crime.