Bardstown banks see increase in counterfeit money


by WHAS11

Posted on February 20, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 20 at 7:38 PM

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Banks in Bardstown say they're seeing more counterfeit cash, and some of it is getting much more difficult to spot.

Until recently, a counterfeiting process called "bleaching" only showed up in places like New York or Los Angeles,  but authorities say a counterfeit $50 bill created using the process was discovered by employees at the Bardstown PNC Bank.

It was one of three counterfeit bills recently discovered by tellers at the bank.

"If you're using real currency, that's gonna create a major problem," said Capt. Tom Rory of the Bardstown Police Department.

Bleaching is a process in which the ink is removed chemically from small denominations, like five dollar bills, but other security measures, like threads and water marks are preserved.

Counterfeiters then use printers to transform the bills into fake $50 or $100 bills.

At Wilson & Muir Bank and Trust, employees have found counterfeit bills in nearly all denominations, especially $20 bills in recent months.

 "It's amazing how much effort they'll put into passing a $20 bill," said banker Jeff Dickerson. "Yes, the technology's there and it's getting better and better all the time. "

At Mammy's Kitchen, employees are checking all large bills with special markers.

"Times are hard now with the economy and it doesn't hurt to check your money,"said Mammy's Kitchen waitress Marley Cecil "Just take precautions, be on the safe side. "

Police say counterfeit money is most likely to be passed in gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores and other places with high volumes of sales.

Suspects will most often try to hit those businesses when they are extremely busy.

"If they're busy, if the clerks [are] backed up, that's gonna create a problem," said Rory.

Bankers say if employees don't catch counterfeit bills when they're passed, the money won't count toward a business' deposit.

Police urge anyone who observes someone passing a counterfeit bill to contact them immediately and get any information, like their license tag number, which could help them make an arrest.