Counterfeit bills surface in Manistee again

March 13, 2019

The Manistee County Sheriff’s Office has received two complaints from local businesses about counterfeit bills that have been passed in the area during a three-month span.

The first counterfeit bill showed up in December 2018 at a local hotel in Wellston, according to Lt. Brian Gutowski of the sheriff’s office.

“The second, a $20 bill, which occurred earlier this week, was passed at the Wesco station in Parkdale,” Gutowski said.

Although the passing of the counterfeit bills is still under investigation, Gutowski did not believe that a specific business model was being targeted.

“You typically see it (counterfeit bills) in retail,” Gutowski said. “But when you are dealing with cash, it changes hands so many times that it really has the potential to pop up just about anywhere.”

The cash involved in Monday’s case included a $20 bill that had the phrase “Copy Money” printed under the serial numbers, according to Gutowski.

Gutowski acknowledged that the bill passed at the hotel in Wellston, back in December, was a larger bill that had the words “Motion Picture Use Only” printed on it.

Local filmmaker Harold Cronk of 10 West Studios said he has not been contacted by the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office about the investigation.

”The money we use is pretty clearly and obviously not real money,” Cronk told the Daily News.{/div}

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{div}Gutowski said the sheriff’s office is actively investigating this incident.{/div}

“We want to increase the vigilance. A lot of times, with cash, people tend to take it in and throw it in the till and keep on going about their day,” he said. “We are just asking that people are more vigilante when they are taking cash. Take that extra second to give it a look over. Cash has a pretty distinctive feel to it. If it feels different, use a counterfeit pen, which is prevalent in many businesses these days. Look at the bill for the indicators. The counterfeit bills look very similar to an actual bill but they do not have a lot of the security features that you would normally see on a legitimate bill.”

Gutowski said that in both cases the bills were recognized by employees of the businesses and turned over to the sheriff’s office. The clerk at Wesco took the money and thought it felt a little different, and after going back to take a closer look determined it was a counterfeit bill, Gutowski said.

Gutowski said that he sent out a press release both locally and south to Grand Rapids to remind people to be vigilant with dealing with cash transactions.

If you believe someone is trying to trying to pass a counterfeit bill in Manistee County, please call 911 or the Manistee County Central Dispatch at 231-723-6241.