STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

More than $1M in phony money circulated across Oregon and southwest Washington

More than a million dollars in counterfeit cash was passed through Oregon and parts of southwest Washington state las...

Posted: Jul 26, 2018 4:25 PM
Updated: Jul 26, 2018 4:25 PM

More than a million dollars in counterfeit cash was passed through Oregon and parts of southwest Washington state last year. A big chunk of that fake money was found in the Portland area.

As the owner of two businesses, Tigerlilly Tattoo and Hollywood Lux Vintage in northeast Portland, Mary Kate Bassindale said coming in contact with counterfeit cash is, unfortunately, inevitable.

"I've seen 20s," Bassindale said. "I've seen 5s and I've seen 100s."

Bassindale said as a former Portland bartender used to dealing with cash constantly, she luckily knew what to look out for long before becoming a small business owner.

"I would see it often in that atmosphere," she said. "Once a month, probably."

But she said not all business owners have a background like hers.

"I've heard a bar down the street accepted like $2,000 worth of counterfeit bills and I don't believe that they're open anymore," she said.

"So, on this specific one, this is a hundred dollar that was printed on top of a bleached one dollar note so it's actual genuine paper, it's just not, it's not a hundred dollar bill," Justin Bourne, a federal agent with the United States Secret Service, said.

Bourne tracks phony bills circulating in the area and agrees it takes a toll on small shops.

"It impacts everyday stores, mom and pop stores, and it really is a community impact problem," he said.

Last year alone, Bourne said they took in close to 24,000 counterfeit bills from across Oregon and southwest Washington.

"About 450 notes a week," Bourne said.

Together, it equaled more than a million dollars in phony money.

"Most of the activity is up and down the I-5 corridor," Bourne said. "Portland being the largest metro area, that's where we see the most activity."

But he said knowing what to look for is the key to getting duped by counterfeit cash.

"Most of these notes we see here were done on an inkjet printer," Bourne said.

Bourne showed us a series of fake bills that come through his office.

"They have some Asian characters on them," he said. "We're seeing these pop up all over the place."

But he also showed us a real $20 dollar bill and important features to look for.

"You want to feel a little bit of raised ink on the bill," he said.

Another good idea he said is to hold the bill up to the light.

"You would want to see a watermark of Jackson's face on the right side," he said.

Bourne said the color shifting ink on some bills is also a telltale sign it's real.

"It should change from copper to green," he said.

If someone does all this and it doesn't quite add up, Bourne said it's important to call your local police department or even the U.S. Secret Service.

"That counterfeit note might actually be connected to a larger organization or a case that may be going on," Bourne said. "So it may be, it could be an important piece of evidence."

"You only do it once," Bassindale said. "You go to the bank and they tell you it's fake and then you know to look for it every single time."

"And it's devastating," she continued. "When you are a small business owner, every single dollar counts."

West Lafayette
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Kokomo
Scattered Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 65°
Rensselaer
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Williamsport
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Crawfordsville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Frankfort
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Delphi
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 67°
Monticello
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 63°
Logansport
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 63°
Active Weather Pattern for the Work Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events