August 4, 2014

"It’s very odd. I’ve never seen a dollar counterfeited before in my life."


It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense."

29 comments:

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Here's the money quote from that story: "The man, a Butte resident who has not been charged, told officers he received $3,000 in cash from his Nigerian sweetheart, whom he met on the Internet, and apparently was unaware the money was counterfeit."

campy said...

Decades ago I read a young people's book about the US Secret Service, founded to stop counterfeiters. My favorite anecdote was about the miscreant who was caught minting phony nickels.

Ralph Hyatt said...

I had to wipe of my screen when I read this part:

At least $1,100 in $100 bills were confiscated in April. That case is being investigated by the Secret Service in Missoula.

Police linked that amount to a man trying to use the fake money to wire funds at Butte stores. The bills have the same serial numbers.

The man, a Butte resident who has not been charged, told officers he received $3,000 in cash from his Nigerian sweetheart, whom he met on the Internet, and apparently was unaware the money was counterfeit.

Ann Althouse said...

I thought the Nigerian sweetheart business was funny too, but that was $100 bills. The story in the headline is a different incident.

lee said...

I was doing some research on something, an was looking at some secret service agent's reports from a hundred years ago. The notes were regarding a counterfeiting ring he was investigating. (BTW, this was from the early 1900's.) These guys were counterfeiting coins--nickels, fumes, quarters. The agent's note seemed to express the same bewilderment of the cop in this story. Why bother putting so much work in something that has such a low ROI (for a criminal enterprise) and so easily discovered.

lee said...

Oooh! I wonder if the easier mentioned miscreant was the same one I was reading about?

Mr Wibble said...

I seem to recall being told years ago, when I worked in retail and the service industry, that counterfeit $20 bills were a bigger problem than the $100 bills. Cashiers generally know to mark the $100 bills to check them, but they don't pay as close attention to small denomiations.

Michael K said...

If I could just get that girl's number. Free dollar bills ! I wonder what the postage is ?

Lonetown said...

Sounds like Mister 880. Started counterfeiting ones in 1938 and it took 10 years to catch him.

Story was made into a movie.

Capt. Schmoe said...

Years ago, when photo copiers and dollar bill changers were both rather new technologies, it was sort of popular to photocopy one dollar bills and then go to car washes and put them in the dollar bill changers.

I don't know what the miscreants did with the quarters, but I'm guessing a lot of beer and cigarettes were purchased with coinage.

Technically, counterfeit dollar bills.

Crimso said...

I know someone who essentially did just that. They were in fact apprehended by the Secret Service and prosecuted for counterfeiting. Remember the old bill changers that had sliding drawers? She told me that a small percentage of them either malfunctioned or had a defect such that they would accept photocopied bills. They would go around town (San Francisco or L.A.) to laundromats randomly checking them. When they found one that took a photocopy, they fed it photocopies until it was empty. Made the mistake of going back to the same one about a week later (desperate people do desperate things). The judge got quite a kick out of it. Said it had been some time since he'd seen anybody try that one.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I recall that about twenty years ago there was a guy who drew exquisite copies of US currency. He would then try to trade them for goods, often successfully. The Secret Service warned him that he might be prosecuted for counterfeiting, but he maintained he was only trying to barter works of art, since he never represented his pieces as actual currency.

Anonymous said...

In Butte $7 goes a long way. A hooker and a pork chop sandwich. Plus change for a RC. Besides, the town is so miserably poor that any denomination larger than $1 stands out.

Sam L. said...

Sentence for $1 bills is same as $100s.

1st comment--That man is now a loser in the 3-horse parlay.

Lee (5:12), what are those "fumes" you mentioned?

Ann Althouse said...

"James Stewart George Boggs (born 1955) is an American artist, best known for his hand-drawn, one-sided depictions of U.S. banknotes (known as "Boggs notes") and his various "Boggs bills" he draws for use in his performances. He spends his "Boggs notes" only for their face value. If he draws a $100 bill, he exchanges it for $100 worth of goods. He then sells any change he gets, the receipt, and sometimes the goods he purchased as his "artwork". If an art collector wants a Boggs note, he must track it down himself. Boggs will tell a collector where he spent the note, but he does not sell them directly.[1] His works are held in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.[2] the MOMA in New York, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Babson College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, the Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida, the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas, and the British Museum, London, England, to name but a few. Boggs and his work are chronicled in Boggs: A Comedy of Values, by Lawrence Weschler, published by the University of Chicago Press."

n.n said...

Counterfeit currency and excessive debt spend in the same way. Not many people actually see the latter, but each represents the same devaluation of capital and labor, albeit the latter process is supposed to be a controlled inflation.

rhhardin said...

It's not counterfeit unless you'd refuse to accept it back as payment for something.

holdfast said...

When I was a kid, a British 5p coin was about the same dimensions and weight as a Canadian Quarter. Close enough that after a school trip to London, many a pop (i.e. soda) was purchase using the 5p coins, which were worth about C$0.10 at the time.

lee said...

Oops. "Dimes" not "fumes." The problem of autogiro. I mean auto spell and doing this on my phone.

rhhardin said...

Washington DC bus tokens used to work in NYC subways.

FullMoon said...

Spent a summer vacation filing pennies down to dime size. Walked 2 miles to laundromat. Insert pennies, get 2 nickles change.
Wait 1 week, repeat.

I was making less than a Chinese child laborer, but it raised my standard of living at the time

The Godfather said...

Some counterfeiters in New York City got the greatest engraver in the world the day he got out of prison. They put him to work all night making the perfect plate for a counterfeit bill. And they all celebrated a little too much while they were working. So the next morning they woke up to realize that they had on their hands a bale of absolutely perfect $18 bills. “What the Hell are we going to do with $18 bills?” they asked themselves. “Nobody would be stupid enough to take it.” “We’ve got to pass these somewhere that has rubes stupid enough to take a $18 bill. Let’s go way up north in New England. Those guys don’t know anything.” So they drove up north until they got to far northern Vermont. They came to a crossroads that had a general store and a gas pump on one corner and nothing on the other three corners. “This has got to be the place. You don’t get more rural than this.” So one of them went into the store and said to the old guy at the counter, “Say, friend, can you give me change for a $18 bill?” “Sure can, neighbor,” said the clerk. “How’d you like it? Three sixes or two nines?”

William said...

If the counterfeit note is worth more than the real note, can it properly be said to be a counterfeit. Suppose Picasso, to make ends meet early in his career, had painted fake pre-Raphaelites and those fakes later turned out to be worth far more than the authentic stuff. There should be a school of art that values authentic fakes more than fake authentics......If these dollar notes were hand engraved and printed on quality paper, they're probably worth more than the real dollar. And that's not even taking into account the artistic quality of the hand engraving. Perhaps it's a performance art piece that forces one to think about the true value of money.

broomhandle said...

I was given a counterfeit $20 bill in Hong Kong. The funny thing was that, when it was identified as counterfeit, no one seemed to think it was that remarkable. We take a myriad of things for granted in this country.

Joe said...

A few years ago, my oldest daughter received a $20 counterfeit bill as a tip for her job. She got really upset and she and her mom took it to a bank. I got upset because I would have paid her $20 for it!

Anthony said...

FullMoon, I did the same in Berkeley, but for parking meters. This was when zinc pennies were new (they're much easier to grind down than the copper ones). The best part was that if a parking meter had any time on it, one shaved penny would give you the full two hours.

And parking in Berkeley is rough. Only Nobel Laureates got their own reserved parking spaces on campus.

sinz52 said...

"Suppose Picasso, to make ends meet early in his career, had painted fake pre-Raphaelites and those fakes later turned out to be worth far more than the authentic stuff."

Don't laugh. That really happens.

Some art forgers were so good at their artistry that once discovered, they became legitimate and valued artists in their own right.

Han van Meergeren, for example, started out by creating forgeries of Vermeer's style. They were eventually revealed as forgeries--but they were so good that they ended up becoming valuable "original van Meergeren paintings" in their own right.

And you guessed it. Eventually the day came when other forgers started creating forgeries of van Meergeren's paintings!

Scott said...

2 $10 Boggs notes are on eBay now for $4,950 Buy It Now price.

ken in sc said...

There was a counterfeiter in Thailand who made really good one dollar bills. They were worth 20 Baht there, about five dollars here. The secret service searched for him for years. He was hard to find because he was not a career criminal, trying to get rich. He only made the fake money when he was hard up and needed it. However, they did catch him in the end.