Counterfeiters Hit Jackson Businesses

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

Shop owner Gurjinder Singh knows a fake bill when he sees it.

"The size difference, then there is a color difference between these two," Singh explains as he looks over a counterfeit bill and a real one. "And then the major thing is, there's a roughness right there, and [the fake one] is very soft."

And Singh's seen a lot of them over the past 10 days at his Frank's Finer Foods in Jackson. Two that his bank discovered last week, and another four this week that Singh says he spotted right away -- all from different customers.

He confronted each, to no avail.

"They left," he says. "As soon as we called the law, they left."

And Singh isn't alone. Jackson police seized a counterfeit 20 at PS Foodmart this week, as well.

Not a single counterfeit bill all year -- then five reports on Wednesday alone. A pattern, or merely an aberration?

"We're not sure yet," says JPD's Deputy Chief John Holda. "It's early in the investigation, so we're going to continue to check with the other party stores and the banks in town to see if they're seeing an increase in counterfeit bills."

But there's no doubt about a pattern nationally. The Secret Service estimates that fake bills comprise three-tenths of 1 percent of the currency supply -- up from one-tenth of 1 percent 10 years ago.

That's $2.6 billion worth of counterfeit bills -- a sign that joblessness could be pushing folks to print what they can't make.

"You may be able to attribute some of that to somebody using desperate measures or trying something that they normally wouldn't do," Holda theorizes.

But Singh isn't buying that excuse. He says he's now much more vigilant about checking customers' cash, and is prepared to confront anyone who passes him a fake.

"Whoever's gonna bring them in, we're not gonna give them back. We're gonna call the law," he says. "If we have to lock the doors to get that guy arrested, we're gonna do it."


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