WINSTON COUNTY - Complaints from local businesses about fake money being circulated have resulted in an active investigation by the Winston County Sheriff’s Office.
Since last summer, the sheriff’s office has been receiving these complaints from businesses, where cashiers were recognizing the currency they were receiving was not legitimate.
“If the business missed it by any chance, the bank caught it,” stressed Sheriff’s Investigator Brad Curtis.
Either businesses or banks were noticing the texture of these fake bills were much smoother than an authentic bill, he said.
“Some of the bills have matching serial numbers and some say Motion Picture Use,” Curtis said, adding that some bills are marked with some type of Asian language.
Some of these bills had Motion Picture Use on both the front and back of the bills. On the back of the bill, wording was With Money Be Happy, instead of In God We Trust, sheriff’s officials added.
Businesses and banks have turned over to the sheriff’s office all denominations of this fake currency.
“We’ve had complaints from business owners throughout the county, both east and west,” Curtis added.
“What we try to do is review surveillance video and try to learn who brought this in and identify the person and interview them.
“We just want to make business owners aware through the county,” noted Curtis. “Double check, triple check, because no business likes to lose money.”
This fake currency marked Motion Picture Money is commonly ordered online, authorities said.
The most recent counterfeit money of this sort came from the Lakeshore area, noted Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Bryan Kirkpatrick.
“If you look at it, feel of it and mark it. You can tell the difference,” Kirkpatrick stated. “It has a smooth texture. The real money has more of a cloth, a rougher texture. It has fiber.”
The fake currently would at first appear quite similar as well as is the same size as authentic currency.
“Just take it and examine it,” Kirkpatrick further instructed businesses. “Don’t take it at face value...Be very observant.
“We’re checking surveillance. We’re trying to educate the public, trying to educate the businesses.
“There are people out there trying to pass this money and they are going to continue passing this money until we get a hold of it,” Kirkpatrick pointed out.
The counterfeit bills, so far in this case, have been collected as evidence at the sheriff’s office.
Investigation into who is trying to pass this phony money is ongoing. No arrests have yet been made in the case as of press time, according to Kirkpatrick.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.