Police issue warning about counterfeit $100 bill scam in central Indiana

A man has been arrested by Indianapolis police on Tuesday for his involvement in an ongoing counterfeit $100 bill scheme in central Indiana.

Kenneth Johnson was arrested by officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. He is facing a felony charge for counterfeiting, as well as two misdemeanors for resisting law enforcement and criminal mischief. In addition to these charges, Johnson also had an outstanding warrant from Hancock County.

Tommie Lee Jackson Jr., who is also wanted on a warrant out of Hancock County for counterfeiting, is still being sought by the police.

Jackson and Johnson allegedly engaged in the fabrication of counterfeit versions of the $100 bill, specifically targeting older iterations. This deceptive practice was likely motivated by the fact that the newer version of the bill incorporates enhanced security measures, making it more challenging to replicate.

According to Lt. Shane Foley, an IMPD public information officer, it is crucial for individuals who handle cash to exercise extra caution, particularly when encountering older versions of the $100 bill.

“We are issuing a warning to the public, businesses, employees, and citizens to exercise caution when dealing with $100 bills. It is crucial to verify the authenticity of these bills,” cautioned Foley.

According to Foley, law enforcement successfully identified a person who had jumped from the second floor of the motel. This individual was found to be in possession of counterfeit currency.

According to Det. Diane Graffitti, the cashier became suspicious when they noticed a significant number of $100 bills. They attempted to use a counterfeit detection pen to verify the authenticity of the bills, but unfortunately, it did not yield any conclusive results.

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According to her, the bills had a distinct feel compared to regular money, although they bore the same identification number.

“They can be found all over Indiana,” Graffitti commented. “Their focus of spending has primarily been in Indianapolis, but they are now expanding into smaller towns.”

The design chosen for this scheme is the $100 design from 1990 to 1996.

According to the U.S. Currency Education Program website, bills issued between 1990 and 1996 should feature a security thread positioned to the left of the portrait. This thread should display the letters “USA” and the number “100” when the bill is held up to the light. Additionally, under ultraviolet light, the security thread should emit a pink glow.

Incorporating microprinting around the portrait of Ben Franklin with the text “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” in a font that may necessitate the use of a magnifying glass is a crucial feature that should be present on these bills.

The back of the picture should feature a depiction of Independence Hall.

Counterfeit bills can be easily identified by incorporating a unique serial number on each bill. It is common for counterfeiters to copy and paste the same serial number onto multiple bills, making them less authentic. Therefore, ensuring that each bill has its own distinct serial number is crucial in deterring counterfeit activities.

According to Foley, if you witness a counterfeit incident in progress, it is advised to dial 911. On the other hand, if you possess a counterfeit $100 bill that was previously submitted, you can reach out to the non-emergency number of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).

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According to Jeffrey Adams, the Special Agent in Charge at the Indianapolis field office of the Secret Service, the agency is unable to comment on ongoing cases. Adams provided a statement to News 8.

As a matter of operational security, the Secret Service does not discuss potentially ongoing investigations. With that said, counterfeiting of U.S. currency continues to be an issue both domestically and globally. In fiscal year 2023, the U.S. Secret Service arrested 197 individuals suspected of counterfeiting and seized $21.8 million in counterfeit currency. We recommend individuals, retailers, and financial institutions to remain vigilant and examine bills. U.S. currency has several built-in security features to help protect against counterfeiting. More information on these features can be found here.
Jeffrey Adams, Secret Service Special Agent in Charge

According to Foley, there may be several people involved in this activity throughout the city. He emphasized that it is not just limited to two individuals, as the exact number is still unknown.

The Greenfield Police Department is currently working on a counterfeiting case that dates back to March 19. However, investigators have determined that there is no connection between this case and the two that were previously mentioned.

If you have legitimate but old $100 bills, you can easily exchange them at the bank for updated notes that come with enhanced security features. This allows you to make purchases at stores without any hassle.

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