Seventeen counterfeit $20 bills were passed in Rexburg businesses over the past two weeks. Walmart, Kmart, Sally’s Beauty Supply, and Broulim’s each received some of the counterfeit money.
Dave Hope of the Rexburg Police Department, and lead investigator on the case, said the first counterfeit bill was used to purchase items on Sept. 10.
On Sept. 12 more bills were passed.
“We have had 17 bills passed with five different serial numbers being used. Walmart has had eight passed,” Hope said.
Most of the bills were caught before they were passed on to other customers, but a few were given to the public.
“There were two bills that got out from Walmart to customers before they were able to pull these bills, so a couple people were in possession of counterfeit bills that didn’t know it,” Hope said. “One was passed to Broulims a couple days ago. We
are still waiting for the other one.”
Captain Randy Lewis of the Rexburg Police Department said Walmart gave the police surveillance camera footage of the suspects.
The suspects purchased a variety of items at the stores with the counterfeit bills.
The suspects are described as a bald Hispanic male, wearing a black T-shirt; a Hispanic female wearing blue jeans and a black tank top, with her hair in a bun; and a white female wearing a black tank top and dark glasses. The subjects were observed getting into a black Pontiac Grand AM or Grand Prix with Idaho license plates.
Lewis said that the suspects might be prosecuted on the state or federal level.
“If it went federal and they convicted this person, they are going to the federal penitentiary. No probation, no parole. They go for a mandatory minimum — and I don’t know what it is — but it is quite a few years,” Lewis said.
Lewis said there are several ways to determine if money is counterfeit. One of the most reliable ways to check for counterfeit money is to check the type of paper the money is printed on.
Lewis said that United States bills are printed on a type of cloth called rag paper.
The rag paper contains tiny green, red and blue fibers that may be seen with a magnifying glass.
“You can actually pick them out with a pin,” Lewis said.
Another security device is the security thread, which can be seen if a bill is held up to the light. However, Lewis said some counterfeit bills do contain the security thread.
Lewis said that those who handle money often are able to determine a counterfeit bill by the feel of the paper it is printed on.