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More phony cash seen in Southbridge

February 16, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — For the second time in less than six months, local police are investigating counterfeit money being circulated in town.

According to Sgt. Ryan Roettger, four businesses have come forward reporting the discovery of fake bills. So far, all of them have been $20s, with various serial numbers.

"As far as I know, it doesn't appear the same people are involved, but I don't have any names at this point," he said. "The paper quality seems to be different."

Roettger was referring to September's arrest of Jose Burgos for allegedly passing a few thousand dollars' worth of counterfeit $50s and $100s plus a few $20s. Also charged with several drug-related crimes, he pleaded not guilty and is still in the court process.

In Burgos' case, the police captured around $1,850 in fake bills, but more may still be in circulation, and it is not yet known how many of the new fakes exist. History, however, shows that many of them will probably circulate for quite some time.

In their 2007 paper "Counterfeit Money," economics professors Elena Quercioli and Lones Smith Of Tulane University and the University of Michigan, respectively, cite Federal Reserve Bank system data to show that 21 percent of all fakes, and higher proportions of lower denomination fakes, circulate until they're finally identified at Fed branches — where currency essentially goes to die. That means they weren't detected by anyone else handling them — citizens, businesses or commercial banks — and there are even rare claims of people receiving fake bills from banks.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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