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LPD reports counterfeit bills

Friday, February 27, 2009

Counterfeit money has been circulating in Lewisburg recently.

Officer Brad Martin of the Lewisburg Police Department was called to the Wal-Mart on Wednesday, Feb. 4, to look at a $100 bill that had been used to purchase items in the electronics department the previous day. "The bill did have a magnetic strip inside, but the internal face was Abraham Lincoln instead of Benjamin Franklin," observed Martin. The bill was turned over to Det. Sgt. Jimmy Oliver for further investigation.

State Farm agent Peggy Hubbard's office took a $100 bill that the bank detected was counterfeit when the deposit was being counted this week.

"It wasn't obviously funny looking, or we wouldn't have taken it," said Hubbard.

"We could stand to lose a twenty here or there, but not a hundred," she added. "We're getting a pen and using it on all the bills from now on."

Pavlova Greggs, a cashier at First Commerce Bank, said their machine detects counterfeit money by checking for the magnetic strip, and by the quality of the paper.

"Sometimes they're good," she said, referring to the quality of the counterfeits, while others "you just glance at and know."

Greggs says the explanation for the bill at Wal-Mart with the wrong face on it could be that the counterfeiters bleached out a real bill and reprinted it in a higher denomination.

The counterfeit bills have to be sent to the government, and the businesses or individuals who deposited them are the losers because only genuine currency is credited to their account.

Earlier this month, Robert Lee Hodge, 31, of Franklin Road, pleaded guilty to passing a counterfeit $20 at Burger King last August. He was sentenced to three years and three months in prison. If the case had gone to trial, Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard was planning to present testimony from the restaurant and also from a gas station employee who picked Hodge out of a photo line-up as the man who tried to pass a $100 bill that she didn't believe was real.