Bleach and ink used for counterfeit cash scheme

Counterfeit cash circulating around southwest Georgia. / Jessica Fairley

Sylvester police are looking for criminal spreading counterfeit cash around southwest Georgia.

This past Saturday a black male who goes by the name of 'Red' passed off a fake $20 bill at the Flash Foods convenience store in Sylvester. By the time the cashier realized the cash was fake the suspect was gone.

"You are deceiving people out of goods and merchandise and the money's no good so there's property loss as a result of this," said Sgt. Kenneth Washington, Investigator for the Sylvester Police Department.

Police are currently working two separate cases dealing with phony money.

As more counterfeit bills show up in southwest Georgia, store owners are warned to be on the lookout.

"If you feel like you have a suspect bill that may be counterfeit, take the same denomination possibly from the same era that the bill was printed and just feel the paper. The paper is going to be different quality," said Matt Pearce, Lee County Sheriff's Department.

Pearce says thieves are getting savvy. They've found a way to pass the paper test by using a bleaching method that makes the security marker obsolete.

"They'll take a one dollar bill that's going to have the watermark, they'll bleach all the ink off of it and then print fake ink on it to say that it's a $5, $50 or something like that," said Pearce.

To spot a fake, look at the watermark on the president. If you spot a $20 with President Lincoln as the watermark, chances are it's a fake.

Color shift ink technology can also be used to detect fake cash. If the $20 in the lower right hand corner of a $20 bill doesn't shift colors, then that bill is a fake.

"A counterfeit bill is going to seem flat, almost lifeless. They'll be no shading underneath the nose, underneath the brows, or something like that," said Investigator Matt Pearce.

Officials say paying close to the details is a sure way to spot a fake.

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