The other day at the bank I saw an unusual picture. A clerk behind a glass window returned a $50 bill to a client, which he and other cash tried to put on his checking account.
“It’s a fake, sir,” the bank clerk said indifferently. – Next time, be careful when you get big bills on your hands.”
The owner of the banknote was an employee of the next grocerie. He was holding $50 in his hands for a long time and could not understand what was wrong with the bill. Ulysses Grant’s portrait is in place, watermarks and shimmering paint are also present. Eventually, the Groserie Man slipped the $50 back into the window again and asked him to check the bill again.
“Sir, this bill is fake,” said the employee again. – “It’s a fake bill of very high quality, but it’s not a real $50 bill.
When the puzzled Grosery Man walked away from the window and it was my turn to talk to the employee, I asked how often fakes get into the bank. The employee replied that “3-4 times a week” and explained that they “do not even call the police, because the guards do not respond to such little things.
Why am I telling you all this? According to the latest data from the Treasury Department and the Secret Service, there are fake bills worth $70 million in the total money supply of the United States! This is about one in every 10,000 banknotes of cash (regardless of denomination). The most common fakes are $50 and $100.
Recently, the problem of counterfeiting has become particularly acute. Both old and new money are in free circulation. The technology of printing is rapidly developing, and professional printers are improving. That is why it is much easier for fraudsters to print bills of 1970s sample, artificially age them and try to sell. Not every owner of the same Grosery knows how to distinguish the real 100-dollar bill, printed, for example, in 1970 (ie, almost half a century ago) from the fake.
In the United States, less than 0.1% of all counterfeit bills are printed. For the most part, American counterfeiters are small and unprofessional criminals who expect to pay for counterfeit drugs of poor quality. Such counterfeits circulate in the underground world and disappear before they reach legal businesses or banks.
The world’s top-quality printing center for counterfeit American dollars is in Peru. From here comes 60% of all counterfeit banknotes with denominations of $100, $50 and $20, located in the U.S. in the total money supply.
Peruvian counterfeits of recent years are of such high quality that it is impossible to identify them with the naked eye. This requires either typewriters, scanners, or markers.
The uniqueness of the Peruvian criminal business of producing counterfeit dollars is that it is controlled by several reputable families for more than one century. Fraudulent secrets have been passed down from generation to generation, and the Government and intelligence services of Peru are willing to take bribes from patriarchs of criminal families, who often appoint “their” prosecutors, judges, high-ranking law enforcement officials and parliamentarians.
Most counterfeit dollar factories are underground in the jungle. They use real treasury equipment with presses and printing plates that are purchased from corrupt countries around the world. Peruvians employ virtuoso artists, designers and other specialists.
In 2016, for example, it became known that the same criminal geniuses who flooded Europe a few years ago with fake paintings that were supposedly painted by famous French Impressionists had their hand in Peru forging American dollars. These swindlers could have faked any little thing – up to a complete repetition of all the securitist innovations that were introduced on last sample notes of $20, $50 and $100.
Typically, counterfeit dollars are imported into the United States from Peru through the seaports of New York, New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts. In declarations they pass under the guise of crockery, clothing, toys, books and other imported items.
Interestingly, producers of counterfeit money in Peru have agreements with cartels in Mexico, Central and Latin America. Peruvians never mess with drugs, and cartels never mess with fake banknotes. That’s why no fake banknotes came into the United States from Mexico. These are two separate and autonomous criminal businesses.
The largest consignment of counterfeit dollars, which the U.S. intelligence agencies managed to capture in the 21st century – $ 30 million. (2016). They were confiscated during a large-scale special operation, which involved 2,000 law enforcement officers from Peru and the United States.
Since then, the fight against forgeries has been conducted primarily in confidence. Special services do not like to advertise their work, as any news about counterfeit banknotes causes panic among the population.