Police: Fake money is 'steady' problem in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - Law enforcement officers say hundreds of thousands of dollars of fake money moves through Baton Rouge every year.
Recently, a woman purchased $350 worth of merchandise at a North Baton Rouge AutoZone using fake bills.
"The night manager, when they were closing the store, went to check the dollar bills and saw that they were counterfeit," said Cpl. L'Jean McKneely.
The woman has since been arrested, but police say this isn't a new crime in Baton Rouge.
"We're constantly on the look," said McKneely. "Constantly putting people in jail for this particular crime."
Police say some people make a living off of spending the fake stuff, buying smaller items, for change in return.
Every fake bill spent in Baton Rouge is sent to Baton Rouge's United States Secret Service Office. Each bill is carefully logged and examined.
"They do things to it that make it blank," said Lou Velez. "Put it into the printer and they'll come out with a higher denomination $20 to $100."
Every time a fake bill is spent, it costs the business accepting it, money. Law enforcement says corporate stores are hit most, because the cashier's are busy and many don't know what they're looking for.
"It hurts everyone because when this is passed, a business takes this, it has no value," said Velez. "Whoever is holding it, ends up with it. It has no value."
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office says last month, a woman presented a Target cashier with eleven $20 bills. They were checked with a counterfeit detector pen and showed up fake. The woman took off once the store realized and she's still on the run.
Velez says there are three ways to check for fake cash. Check the ink on $20s and $100s for changing colors, a security thread displaying the denomination of the bill, and a watermark.