Advice To Aspiring Counterfeiters: Print The Correct President On Your Bills

We’re not normally in the business of giving advice to criminals, but some aspiring counterfeiters in Arizona might want to study up on their American history. They allegedly tried to pass fake $100 bills with the image of Benjamin Franklin on the note, but a watermark of Abraham Lincoln. Oh, those Founding Fathers all look alike.

The suspect tried to spend the fake cash on small, inexpensive items at a Goodwill thrift store and a Safeway. At both stores, employees noticed that something wasn’t quite right about the bill and called police. Instead of waiting around for police to arrive, the man instead walked out of both stores and left the bogus bills behind.

Suspect allegedly attempted to pass fake $100 bills with wrong politician on them [Prescott Daily Courier]


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  1. GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

    So what happened was they “washed” a $5 bill, then printed a $100 over the top, and hoped that it would pass the stupid pen test and no one would investigate further.

    • Murph1908 says:

      I am glad the first comment was this. Simple, and much less ‘dumb’ than the headline and story makes it out to be.

      • Sian says:

        totally. This is actually pretty slick counterfeiting and works more often than it doesn’t. It sounds like their printing quality wasn’t up to snuff though and it aroused suspicion pretty quick.

      • cameronl says:

        Yeah, they were dumb…. dumb like a FOX! (or something like that.)

    • 180CS says:

      Honestly, I just look for the watermark, the strip, and proper printing & ink. Like some others here, I’m also going to guess his printing is what tipped off these places, but I’ll be the first to admit that if he did a good job at printing on the washed bills, it probably would have fooled me.

      I hope this article might get other people like me to check the watermark and make sure it matches the face on the bill like i will from now on.

  2. Invader Zim says:

    He ran home to make a better batch.

  3. jvanbrecht says:

    The criminal were not stupid. this is an effective counterfeiting method. Washing a smaller denomination and printing a larger one.

    The mistake they made was using large denomination bills. You pass off a $100, they will do the pen test and check the watermark, you use 3 or 4 $20’s, and they will most likely only perform the pen test, which would most likely pass.

    • sorta savvy consumer says:

      Those greedy bastards

    • Kahlidan says:

      I’ve only had one instance where someone checked a 20, and I almost always use cash when I buy something. Virtually no one tests them because they’re the most common bill due to ATMs.

  4. sorta savvy consumer says:

    When is the last time you looked at the watermark on a bill. Now given a $100 bill and being cashier that might be a good idea, and in this case it seems that someone did do that.

  5. Cliff_Donner says:

    Benjamin Franklin . . . The only president of the United States . . . who was never president of the United States . . . .

    • TheUncleBob says:

      Thank you! Ben was never a president and Abe isn’t a founding father.


    • MsKitty says:

      Really? Check your $10 bill. Alexander Hamilton was never president, either. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury.

    • MarkFL says:

      Not the only one…Alexander Hamilton is another “dead president” who was never president.

  6. Press1forDialTone says:

    Why didn’t the Goodwill person pull out a gun (permitted of course) and
    hold the a-hole until the cops got there. Um, case you’ve forgotten in this
    struggling economy, counterfeiting is a CRIME and is handled by the secret
    service. It is a F E L O N Y.

  7. PragmaticGuy says:

    I read in a magazine that someone tried to pass a counterfeit $1 bill last week and that was spotted. Didn’t say if the person was caught.

  8. Sham says:

    In addition to passing the pen test, one of the best ways counterfeit bills are detected is by touch (the paper feels different when it isn’t the real thing). Cashier’s who handle money all day long know what money feels like, so washing tries to get around this hurdle.

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      I was going to mention the cashiers hands, but many don’t believe it. When I was a cashier, more than once I felt a phony as I was counting a till. True, I had some false positives, but to my knowledge, no counterfeits ever got past me. I had the tendency to check the newer color shift ink and snap bills as well, and look for the watermark/microprinting.

      • DemosCat says:

        I wonder if plastic money can be “washed’ and reprinted? Australia as used plastic money for a few years, and isn’t Canada switching to plastic now?

    • Unknownable says:

      and the smell.
      US money has a very particular smell

      Most likely due to all the stuff the bills go through in their life.
      *Inhales, ah , Money smoke, don’t breathe this!”

  9. sasakan says:

    I was actually in a Safeway checking out, not too long ago, when my cashier was disrupted by another cashier who was asking around about “who accepted this bill?!” She let me look at the bill which was a pretty good counterfeit. It had been a $5 bill that someone washed and printed the $100 stuff over top. It was a good fake because the cashier, in this case, had accepted the bill and it was later discovered fake.

  10. Libertas1 says:


    Counterfeiting 5s and 10s is the way to go. Use them sparingly for mundane purchases at places like McDonald’s and such, and you likely will never get caught.

    Bust out the C-notes, and you get attention.

  11. 180CS says:

    I’m glad this article has a more receptive tone to the notice though. This WAS the right thing to do. Want to know what they do in Illinois? They don’t tell you. Then they start tacking on fines for delequency. Once your 7 cent mistake has turned into a thousand dollar problem, then they send out numerous letters, and eventually offer to settle out of court for about 600 bucks.

    I’d much rather get the letter that cost 42 cents to mail, notifying me about 7 cents, and pay that 7 cents, than watch it balloon into hundreds if not thousands of dollars in fines.

    • 180CS says:

      How the hell….this comment was meant for the article about the 7 cent…well, okay. You know what article it was meant for. Why can’t we have a delete/edit button on the new site? :(