Police see rise in counterfeit currency in SWLA
SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - As the holiday season begins, law enforcement throughout Southwest Louisiana is warning people to watch out for counterfeit money.
“If you receive a counterfeit bill, contact your local law enforcement agency, whether it’s Lake Charles PD, Calcasieu, Sulphur PD, Westlake whatnot, and let them know," said Sgt. Nicholas Johnson with the Sulphur Police Department. "If you receive the bill and the person is still there, do what you can to stall. Let the police get there and let us find out where they got those bills.”
Some fake money has obvious signs; like Asian lettering on the sides or prop bills with “For motion pictures purposes” in the place of “The United States of America".
Some others are harder to spot.
“A lot of businesses are just busy taking customers," said Johnson. "It’s coming into the holiday season with Christmas and Thanksgiving with a lot of purchases being made at businesses around town and we could very possibly see an influx of these bills coming in as well.”
Using counterfeit currency can violate both federal and state laws. If you are caught using it, you can face up to ten years in jail and a million dollar fine, according to Johnson.
But what if you didn’t know you were using counterfeit money? Some lawyers say it only becomes illegal when it is proven you had the intent to defraud the recipient.
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