After more than a decade frantically trying to track down the makers of counterfeit $100 bills that were so well made they were only discovered when they reached the Fed Reserve, investigators finally indicted 13 Israelis and Americans last week.
According to Bloomberg News, “The ring was reportedly responsible for manufacturing more than $77 million in fake $100 bills at Israeli locations since 1999. The counterfeit notes were then distributed throughout the East Coast.”
The network says the secret service finally caught a break two years ago when it detected four of the phony greenbacks at a Loan Max in Northern Virginia. According to federal authorities, hundreds of agents were involved in the investigation by the time they executed raids and arrest warrants in five states in May and June. It resulted in the capture of the suspects and the seizure of $2.5 million in fake bills in New Jersey.
Bloomberg also notes that one extraordinary sign of the ring’s expertise and sophistication, was that the “counterfeiters appeared close to mimicking the latest currency security features, including 3D ribbons.”
The Secret Service has been battling counterfeiting since the late 1800s. During that period of about 150 years, it has watched the art evolve from sophisticated forgery by master printers to amateurs printing bills on home computers. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the service seized about $157 million in fake bills.
Check out the full story from Bloomberg here.