U.S. customs officials recently seized a shipment of counterfeit $100 bills in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which would have been worth $351,500 if they were real.
The seizure, which took place at a facility that processes express consignment shipments, was made on May 27, according to a June 3 press release by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The shipment of fake bills originated from Shanghai and was destined for a residence in Milwaukee.
Investigators said the fake bills were made of poor material and did not have the watermark real currency possess. Moreover, each fake bill had the same serial number and contained Chinese characters in red on the back of these bills.
These fake bills have been destroyed, according to the press release. However, it is not known if any arrests have been made in connection with the seizure. At press time, Customs and Border Protection did not respond to a request for comment.
“The importation of counterfeit currency can pose a threat not only to the United States economy, but our national security as well,” said William Braun, service port director for the port of Milwaukee, in the press release.
Braun added: “The illegal importation of this amount of counterfeit currency has the potential to be a very serious criminal act.”
In the United States, the main agency responsible for investing and combating counterfeit currency is the Secret Service.
In its 2016 annual report, the Secret Service stated that it prevented the circulation of over $64 million in counterfeit U.S. currency, and arrested 543 criminals as a result of counterfeit investigations.
The following year, the Secret Service announced it stopped the circulation of over $73 million in counterfeit U.S. currency and made 1,548 arrests, according to its latest published 2017 report.
Though Peru is the main source of the world’s fake U.S. notes, counterfeit money originating from China has continually been discovered and seized by U.S. authorities in the past six months. According to a May 22 press release, U.S. customs officials seized $252,300 in counterfeit $100 bills at an express consignment facility in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 13.
The shipment—from Shenzhen, a port city in southern China—was headed for Guthrie, Oklahoma.
The fake money was likely produced by a high-end printer on regular paper, U.S. officials said. Simplified Chinese characters were seen on the back of the bills.
On December 14 last year, U.S. customs officials seized $900,000 in counterfeit $1 bills at the International Falls Ports of Entry in Minnesota, according to a press release.
The shipment was discovered in a commercial rail shipment originating from China. According to the press release, the Secret Service was called in and they determined the money to be fake.
Local U.S. authorities have previously warned people about fake money with Chinese characters.
In February 2019, the city government of Hilliard, Ohio, announced that five currency counterfeiters were arrested and charged. Police discovered paper, ink, and other items used in the production of fake U.S. currency at their homes.
The city government issued five suggestions on how residents could protect themselves from becoming victims of fake currency. One suggestion was to see whether the bills have a watermark and a vertical security thread.
Another suggestion was: “Look for strange markings. Many of the bills in Hilliard have had Chinese writing on them. The coloring is also a little off.”
From The Epoch Times