Secret Service issues warning to consumers in Northeast Ohio as counterfeit money cases on rise

Prop movie money being passed more often

CLEVELAND - The U.S. Secret Service office in northeast Ohio reports an increase in local counterfeit cases in recent months.

U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge, Jonathan Schuck, issued further warning that there's also been a rise in the passing of prop movie money.

Schuck told News 5 it's an issue that is having an impact across the country this year.

"Nationally, I think we're at about $2.5 million dollars, just in the past year," said Schuck.

"As a consumer or clerk, you have to pay close attention."

"If you really look closely though, it doesn't have any security features in the bill.  Once you look at the bill, it clearly says motion picture money on it."

In the past five months, police in Westlake, Elyria, Kent, Jackson Township, Fairview Park, Sandusky, Norwalk and Bellevue have reported counterfeit cases, in many of the cases prop movie was used.

Captain Guy Turner with the Westlake Police Department told News 5 the suspects are now using the fake money to buy a large quantity of items.

"They spent $300, $400, $600 apiece, and they only got $50 back in change, they were after the merchandise," said Turner.

"I think prop movie money needs to be controlled a little bit better I think."

The U.S Secret Service would not give any details, but said it is now taking steps to better control the companies that print and distribute prop money.

"Through our legal means we are trying to shutdown these places.  Obviously the Secret Service does not approve this money being passed," said Schuck.

The U.S. Secret Service is showing consumers what to look-out for when it comes to fake money on its website.

Schuck said those convicted of passing counterfeit bills are subject to a federal felony, and up to 20 years in jail.

 

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