Crime & Courts

CPCC receives grant to combat counterfeiting

Central Piedmont Community College has secured a $200,000 grant to start a certificate program to combat counterfeiting.

CPCC will use the National Science Foundation grant to develop a two-year technician certificate program and to provide continuing education for those in the field.

Leading the initiative will be Zachery Blackburn, instructor and chair of CPCC’s graphic arts and imaging technology program.

Counterfeiting ranks among the fastest-growing economic crimes, accounting for 5 to 7 percent of world trade, according to the International Chamber of Commerce. Counterfeiting is worth an estimated $600 billion a year.

Paper currency is the most common product counterfeited.

Just last week, Lincoln County sheriff’s investigators announced that someone has been using homeless people to pass counterfeit $100 bills at retailers in Denver, N.C.

“It is the best counterfeit money I have seen,” sheriff’s Capt. Tim Johnson said.

A homeless man was arrested, and sheriff’s investigators continue to search for a homeless woman also suspected of passing the bills at local retailers.

Numerous commercial goods also continue to be counterfeited worldwide, from alcohol and other drugs to furniture and wall coverings, according to the International Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak