Chamber reports counterfeit bills

Published 10:46 am Thursday, June 16, 2011

Those fake $50 and $100 bills are still in the area, according to local businesses.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce released a counterfeit money alert Wednesday over counterfeit $50 and $100 bills recently found at US Bank.

According to the alert, counterfeiters are washing and bleaching $1 and $5 bills, then reprinting the money in higher amounts.

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“Evidently, it’s been going on here in southern Minnesota for quite some time,” said Sandy Forstner, head of Austin’s COC.

Forstner first heard Mayo Clinic Health System—Austin encountered the bills and sought advice from US Bank, which has discovered several fake bills in recent weeks.

Some telltale signs of fake $50s and $100s include a different statesman’s face other than Ulysses S. Grant ($50) or Benjamin Franklin ($100), a security thread to the left of the portrait revealing how much the bill is really worth, or shifting colors on the $100 bill’s numerals.

These bills have circulated throughout Austin for the past several months.

Police Chief Brian Krueger said detectives are still investigating cases as they come up, hoping to find the source of the fake bills.

In May, a counterfeit $100 bill was found at the Apollo Superette. The clerk at the store took the bill and later realized it had Abraham Lincoln’s face on it — similar to other counterfeit bills recently found around southeastern Minnesota.

The clerk told police the man who used the bill was a Hispanic man between the ages of 18 and 20 with acne scars on his face. He has black hair, was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and is around 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Earlier that month, the Faribault Chamber of Commerce issued a similar alert, giving the impression the bills are spreading throughout southern Minnesota.

The bills, which can pass counterfeit pen tests, may sometimes have the wrong face on them. The FACOC warned that, “you might see Lincoln or Washington instead of Franklin on the $100 bill.”

Krueger said if anyone finds a counterfeit bill, they should immediately report it to the Austin Police Department.