Fake $100 bills circulate in isles
About $15,000 worth of the high-quality counterfeit bills was passed here in the last week
The U.S. Secret Service is warning merchants to beware of "high quality" counterfeit $100 bills circulating in Hawaii.
The bills are being distributed by the Crips and the Bloods, Los Angeles street gangs, said Al Joaquin, special agent in charge of the Hawaii office of the Secret Service. The same bills are connected to arrests in the Los Angeles area, where more than $4 million worth of bills have turned up, Joaquin said.
About $15,000 worth of bills were passed in the last week in Hawaii, he said. The bills have turned up in Waikiki, Pearlridge and even neighbor islands, Joaquin said. In some cases the suspects have purchased items and then returned them for legitimate cash.
The bills are printed on a "high quality" printer on paper that is close to the "100 percent rag" used for U.S. currency, Joaquin said. They have also been sprayed with a chemical so that pens that some merchants use to detect counterfeits will not help identify these bills.
If people see a suspect bill, they should call police, Joaquin said.
HOW TO SPOT A COUNTERFEIT BILL
» Look for security threads. Genuine currency has red and blue fibers in the paper, not just printed on the bill.
» Check the watermark by holding the bill up to the light. Real $100 bills will have a watermark with the face of Ben Franklin that can be seen from both sides of the bill.
» Look for distinctive and sharp printing in the portrait, border and treasury seal.