NASHVILLE, TN (WKRN) – With the holiday season upon us, Middle Tennessee shopkeepers have one more thing to worry about: fake money.
The money looks so real, it’s showing up all over the place, including malls.
Goodlettsville police recently worked a case at Teriyaki Express in the food court.
A man used a fake 100 dollar bill, a movie prop, to buy food. The clerk didn’t catch the obvious signs on the bill that say “for motion picture use only.”
When the man was questioned, he reportedly swore he didn’t realize it either. He could have been charged, but he ultimately paid what he owed.
Though the Secret Service says motion picture money is easy to spot, News 2 showed the bill to four people at a local gas station.
Three of them didn’t immediately notice the problem.
WKRN discovered the bills are available online, with as much as $50,000 worth of the bills on sale for only $24.99.
“It is plainly a movie prop. Once passed, with criminal intent, it is a felony both state and federally,” said Matt Preston with the Secret Service.
Preston says despite the obvious signs it is a movie prop, clerks miss it, which is what counterfeiters are counting on.
“I won’t say the perfect counterfeit is a myth, but what they are counting on is people not paying attention to what they are doing,” he explained.
In the last few weeks, Preston says Goodlettsville’s case is on the only report of a movie prop hundred dollar bill. He says nationwide there have been a few cases but nothing major.
Preston also told News 2 that the cashier looking at the bill is the key. The pens will detect these bills are fake, but nowadays, he says, many counterfeiters are bleaching one dollar bills and printing the image of 20s 50s and 100s on that washed bill, so the pen doesn’t activate because it reacts to the paper which is genuinely a one.
The bills look so real, the RiverGate Mall is now proactively warning its customers and businesses about them.
“RiverGate Mall has taken a proactive approach to alerting our merchants about the emergence of so-called Movie Money in order to protect our businesses and our valued customers,” said Richard Wright with the mall.
Wright continued, “Each merchant has been given a packet of information containing a description of the $100 denomination bills. Mall Management is working closely with the Goodlettsville Police Department on this issue and asks all merchants to remain vigilant this holiday season.”