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Columbus Police Shift To Education In Counterfeiting Case

Columbus police say they believe many cities see bad cash, but officials say only a fraction of the fake money Columbus has seen has been passed in Bloomington.

money

Photo: 401K 2012 (Flickr)

Thousands of dollars in large bills have been given to businesses in Bartholomew and surrounding counties in recent weeks.

Columbus police say they’ve largely handed over a recent counterfeiting case to the U.S. Secret Service and are now focusing on training local businesspeople how to stop the practice.

Lieutenant Matt Myers says thousands of dollars worth of bogus currency has been passed in Bartholomew and surrounding counties in recent weeks, largely by two men – one of whom is in custody, the other at large.  Myers says he believes the large amount of fake cash is due to the holiday season and drug activity, and says he thinks many communities face similar circumstances.

But in Bloomington, the problem doesn’t seem as pervasive.  Police Captain Joe Qualters says there was an average of less than one counterfeiting case reported to his department per month in 2012.

“We actually do not have any peak time for us.  It seems that most of the cases we took for 2012 seem to be spread out throughout the year.  We had fewer than ten, so we can’t necessarily tie it into the holiday season,” Qualters says.

What’s more, the Columbus case has resulted in many more fake bills changing hands.  So Myers says his department has assigned a detective to talk with business owners about how to protect themselves at the point of sale from being duped into taking worthless paper.

“We will direct our education efforts and proactive approach to whatever situation we have.  The last couple weeks it’s been the counterfeit currency, so we’ll research and get info that will help the community in spotting these type of issues,” Myers says.

Though counterfeiting is a reoccurring problem in Columbus, calls to the Secret Service seeking an accounting of how many such cases have been reported in the city in recent years went unreturned Thursday.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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