Portales police are investigating what Chief C. Douglas Jones referred to as a serious counterfeiting ring in the area.
Police have received about 16 reports of counterfeit money received by cashiers at chain retailers and locally owned businesses throughout the past three weeks, according to Lt. Pat Gallegos, investigative commander with the police department.
Jones said officers have recovered counterfeit 100s, 50s, 20s and 10s. The counterfeit bills have the same serial numbers, imperfect watermarks and ridges and lack security strips.
A view of counterfeit 50 dollar bills retrieved by Portales police. These counterfeit bills display the same serial numbers seen on the bottom right.
"If you check the back of some of the bills, you can see they (counterfeiters) didn't even put the bills together right," Gallegos said. "The bills don't overlap right. They show plain white and were cut uneven."
Gallegos said the counterfeiters mostly attempt to purchase an inexpensive item with the illegal tender at a business with the goal of receiving change.
Gallegos said his department received its first report of counterfeit currency on Dec. 9.
Police advise citizens who believe currency they received to be counterfeit to call local law enforcement immediately. Cashiers and business owners should try to retain the bills and get a description of the subject, their vehicle and their license plate number.
"Two or more bills with the same serial number should be a clue that the money is not real," Jones said.
Gallegos said cashiers and citizens can combat counterfeiting by surveying the security features such as serial numbers, watermarks and ridges on all currency. Clerks should be sure to use a counterfeit indicator pen on all bills of $10 denomination or higher.
Gallegos said his department has leads in the cases but would not provide further information.
Last four digits of serial numbers found on counterfeit currency retrieved by police.
- 10s: 150B
- 20s: 069D, 467D
- 50s: 078A
- 100s: 729A