ACKERMAN, Miss. (WCBI) – Ackerman Police say they have seized around $8,000 in fake bills as part of a counterfeit scheme that extended as far as Eupora.
Police Chief Tim Cook says the arrest of Jonathan Wells put them on the trail to discovering the counterfeiters were based in their town.
“We arrested (Wells) here in Ackerman when he passed off a $10 bill to buy some cigarettes,” Chief Cook said. “It was also fake, which led us to confiscate around $8,000 of this money here in town.”
The bills are prop money like those used for movies or TV, which almost anyone can buy.
“On eBay you can order $10,000 worth of this stuff for $15 plus shipping,” Chief Cook said. “It’s really easy.”
At first glance, the bills look and feel almost identical to actual currency.
“On this side here in small writing it has ‘prop copy,'” Chief Cook said, holding up a faux $50 note.
While the prop money is clearly marked, Chief Cook says scammers find ways to get around that.
“The suspects take it, they wash it or they’ll fold it up real good, ball it up and then reopen it,” Chief Cook said.
Often using large bills to make small purchases and exchange it for real money, Chief Cook says the first line of defense is cashiers marking and checking the money properly.
“A lot of times they are busy, or have a lot of people and they don’t check the money, they just take it, or they simply just don’t have the UV markers to mark it,” Chief Cook said. “I think it’s never going to go away, but it would be a lot less of an issue if they would just check the money.”
Chief Cook says they are confident they have recovered all the money that was in circulation. Wells is charged with False Pretense Misdemeanor with a bond of $1,000.