Counterfeit bills still showing up

Published 10:47 am Monday, June 27, 2011

Local businesses are still facing counterfeit woes.

HyVee workers took a fake $50 bill from a customer Sunday evening, the latest in a string of counterfeit money incidents that have plagued southern Minnesota for several months.

Police Chief Brian Krueger said the customer was a woman in her 40s or 50s with light brown hair. HyVee is currently investigating surveillance footage to see if they can identify the woman. The case has been forwarded to detectives.

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Earlier this month, an Albert Lea couple was charged in Freeborn County District Court for making counterfeit $100 bills, but may face a federal indictment as well.

Travis Cameron, 31, and Heather Cameron, 34, face charges for their alleged involvement with a group operating a scheme of manufacturing and dealing counterfeit money in southern Minnesota, including Austin, Albert Lea, Faribaut, Owatonna, Mankato, Owatonna, Northfield, Eagan and Burnsville.

Assistant Freeborn County Attorney David Walker said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has shown an interest in prosecuting the cases, and he anticipates a federal indictment soon. He did not know if the state charges would be dropped if that happens.

The operation involved mainly washing $5 bills and turning them into $100s. The $5s were sprayed with oven cleaner.

Then an image of a digitally scanned authentic $100 was printed onto the washed bills.

The counterfeit $100s would pass when tested with a counterfeit pen.