May 032004
 
Authors: Jesse McLain

Fort Collins consumers may have to make sure they have a bill

small enough to cover their tab.

With an increase in counterfeit bills many local companies are

taking extra precautions in order to protect themselves. Big City

Burrito has stopped accepting $100 bills in order to counter the

problem.

“We’ve actually caught two of them,” said Jimmy Towne, manager

of Big City Burrito, 510 S. College Ave. “They somehow changed a $5

bill into a hundred.”

Big City didn’t catch the bills until they tried to turn them

into the bank and were told they were counterfeit. According to

First National Bank, in the Lory Student Center, the most commonly

caught bill is the $20.

“We probably see counterfeit bills once or twice a week, and

that is just in one branch of the bank,” said Cindy Pratt,

tele-operations manager for First National Bank. “Twenties are the

most common, 50s and 100s are more common around the holidays when

people are trying to get away with more.”

Federal precautions such as new versions of the $20, $50 and

$100 bill have been put into effect in order to deter

counterfeiters. However according to Pratt, criminals are also

advancing with the times.

“They’re getting more and more clever all the time,” Pratt said.

“The criminals are still probably ahead of the game, I’m sure

there’s a lot out there in circulation.”

Computer Science Associate Professor Roger Alexander agrees that

counterfeiting isn’t an exceptionally difficult task.

“All you really need is a scanner, a high-quality laser printer

and the right kind of paper,” Alexander said. “The reason you’re

seeing the bills being changed is because without a whole lot of

technology someone can produce a counterfeit bill.”

Alexander believes that to effectively battle counterfeit bills

the currency needs to be technologically advanced. Imbedding a

computer chip within the paper currency is a precaution that

Alexander believes in as “entirely conceivable.”

Those criminals who chose to take the risk of counterfeiting

also take the risk of serious legal complications. Eloise

Campanella, press information officer for the Larimer County

Sheriff’s Department, says education is the most important

precaution that employers can take in avoiding counterfeit

bills.

“If they suspect a counterfeit bill they should call the proper

agency right away but do not try to apprehend the person.”

Campanella said. “A lot of people don’t know they are using it so

they like to wait around and talk to law enforcement because they

feel like they have been cheated.”

Counterfeiting is a class 5 felony and carries a maximum

sentence of six years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.