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Henderson Police, Businesses Not Laughing Over Funny Money

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HENDERSON — Funny money is floating around Vance County. Police have uncovered hundreds of dollars in fake cash, and some of the phony bills may have been passed along to consumers.

Over the last two weeks, people have passed counterfeit $100 bills to eight Henderson businesses. The counterfeiters are taking advantage of busy grocery stores to slip past security measures.

"They go to the grocery store during the busiest period of time, so they can slip the bill to the cashier and [the cashier does not] have to really examine it," said Captain Tony Clark of the Henderson Police Department.

The fake money takes a big bite out of the businesses' coffers.

"If we take it, we're losing $100. It's as simple as that," said store manager Marvin Campbell. Counterfeiters have hit two of his stores.

Police say sophisticated computers are making it harder to spot fake cash. Many businesses are using a marker with special ink that can distinguish between real money and fake bills.

Campbell tells his cashiers that simple steps will prevent counterfeiters from eating into the store's bottom line.

"When big bills come through -- $20 and up -- go ahead and mark it," he said. "It doesn't take but a second to mark it, and you'll know for sure, right then."

What should you do if you think someone had passed along counterfeit money to you?

"Go ahead and bring it to the police department," Clark said. "We can test the bill, and if it is bogus, we'll go ahead, collect the bill, and send it to the Secret Service. You may be out of luck, but at least you won't be arrested."

TheU.S. Secret Serviceis in charge of counterfeit money investigations. The Secret Service's Raleigh office, which has jurisdiction over eastern North Carolina, says it sees anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 in fake money every week.

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Julia Lewis, Reporter
Lynn French, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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