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Town of Brookfield police warn against counterfeit bills

Aug. 26, 2014

Brookfield businesses should be on the lookout for counterfeit bills.

A New Berlin resident attempted to use a counterfeit $100 bill at Open Pantry, 17235 W. Bluemound Road, last week.

Town of Brookfield Police Lt. Detective Sean Schmidt noted that the town has only seen one incident of this specific type of counterfeiting, but that there have also been multiple cases of fraudulent bills by a different method.

"What we usually see is people take a $5 bill and bleach it and then they print a $100 or a $50 bill on that," Schmidt said.

Bleaching a smaller bill and re-printing a larger bill's value on the same paper allows counterfeiters to have their product pass the pen test, which reveals illegitimate paper.

"This (latest) case wasn't even real paper, this was just someone printing the bill," Schmidt said. "It's kind of obvious."

While the fake at Open Pantry was not going to win any costume contests, Schmidt does note that fraudulent bills through the bleaching process are relatively common.

"On average we get maybe 10 a year. The bleaching, that used to always work. We've started talking to our retailers," Schmidt said.

Schmidt noted that while bleaching can result in a passing grade on the pen test, the bill's watermark will remain.

"If you have a bill with Benjamin Franklin printed on it, but an Abraham Lincoln watermark, that's kind of a giveaway," Schmidt said.

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