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Police stumble on alleged counterfeiting operation in local home

Officers from the Daytona Beach Police Department were in for a surprise on Wednesday when they went looking for a man who hadn’t shown up for his court date on a felony charge. For one thing, they hauled in four people on outstanding warrants. For another, according to a department spokesperson, they happened upon what appeared to be a counterfeiting operation.

According to the spokesperson, the officers arrived at a home on Hawk Street at about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and spotted the 26-year-old man they were seeking standing out on his front porch. He went back inside, but the officers had warrants. They presented the warrants and arrested the man, but not before getting inside the house.

Inside, the officers found what looked like an amateur-style setup to produce photocopied money. That is, the counterfeiters had a color copy machine, some sheets of money copied onto paper, and an unspecified amount of phony money in various wallets.

They also discovered two men and a woman, ranging in age from 23 to 26, each of whom was wanted on an outstanding warrant. The charges related to the warrants were not specified, but these three and the original man were arrested.

Interestingly, no one has yet been charged with counterfeiting money. Instead, Daytona Beach has apparently brought in the Secret Service, which is the federal agency tasked with investigating alleged counterfeiters. Both the local and federal agencies are still investigating the matter.

The truth is that counterfeiting U.S. currency cannot be done with a copy machine. According to the Secret Service, American paper money has numerous ingrained security features including color-changing ink, microprinting and an inscribed security thread. It is also printed on special paper, unavailable for general purchase, which is recognizable by touch and has red and blue fibers embedded in the paper -- not printed on top.

No information has yet been released about whether anyone connected with the Hawk Street house will be charged with a crime. That said, counterfeiting U.S. currency is a serious federal offense. A conviction for this particular white collar crime could result in up to 20 years in prison.

Source: Daytona Beach News Journal, “Daytona police, Secret Service investigating counterfeit operation,” Katie Kustura, Nov. 7, 2013

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