Lincoln County sheriff’s detectives believe homeless people are being used to pass counterfeit $100 bills at retailers in Denver, N.C.
A second case surfaced this week of counterfeit $100 bills being used at retailers.
Investigators are searching for the woman who used 10 counterfeit $100 bills Monday to pay for putting $500 on each of two Visa cards she bought at the Dollar General on N.C. 16 Business.
The clerk did not use a marking pen to determine if the money was counterfeit, investigators said. Store officials learned the bills were fake when they tried to deposit the money in a bank.
In the first case, a Charlotte homeless man was arrested and charged with passing counterfeit $100 bills at retailers in eastern Lincoln County.
The bills were hard to detect, sheriff’s Capt. Tim Johnson said.
“It is the best counterfeit money I have seen,” he said.
Dannie Ray Pope, 40, who lists his address as “Homeless, Charlotte, NC,” was arrested and charged with obtaining property by false pretenses, attempt to obtain property by false pretenses and possession of five-plus counterfeit instruments. Pope was jailed on $25,000 bail.
The Sheriff’s Office on Thursday warned all businesses to be extra careful about taking $100 bills for purchases of gift cards or other items.
Many of the bills are in the 2006 year series and have fooled the quick-check counterfeit-checking pens used at checkout lines and some banks, Johnson said. The $100 bills recently passed in Lincoln County could only be confirmed when the pen was pressed down firmly against the bills, he said.
Johnson said store workers also can:
▪ Feel the texture of the bills. “Counterfeit money will feel distinctly different,” Johnson said. “Authentic money is made from cotton and linen.”
▪ Notice the thinness of the bill. Genuine money is often thinner than counterfeit, Johnson said. Hold the bills up to the light. If you can see the security strip in the bill without holding it up to light, it most likely is counterfeit, Johnson said.
▪ Check for other things on the bill using a black light to look at security threads and check for watermarks (hologram images) by holding the bill up to a light.
Johnson urged store workers to always get good descriptions of the person presenting the money. Ask for identification and write down the license plate on the car or truck they’re in.
Anyone with information about counterfeit bills or other crimes is asked to call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. Information given to Crime Stoppers may be given anonymously. Callers with information that leads to an arrest are eligible for up to $1,000 reward.