SCHUMER: NEW FEDERAL DATA SHOWS COUNTERFEIT MONEY IS GREATLY INCREASING ON LONG ISLAND, LEAVING LOCAL BUSINESSES, LIKE CHURCHILL’S RESTAURANT & KASEY’S KITCHEN, HIGH & DRY WHEN THEY ATTEMPT TO DEPOSIT FAKE BILLS – SENATOR URGES SECRET SERVICE TO STEP-UP EFFORTS ON LONG ISLAND TO COMBAT COUNTERFEIT BILLS—HELP LOCAL RETAILERS IDENTIFY FAKE CURRENCY
Long Island Authorities Have Identified At Least $3 Million in Counterfeit Money In Circulation Throughout Nassau & Suffolk Area, But This Amount Likely Only Scratches The Surface; More Could Be Exchanging Hands Without Consumers or Retailers Knowing – Local Shop Owners & Residents Have Little Recourse When They Try To Deposit Fake Currency At Their Local Bank
Schumer Calls On Secret Service To Enhance Coordination With Local Law Enforcement, Identify Potential Counterfeit Hot Spots & Educate Local Businesses With Ways To Identify Counterfeit Cash
Schumer: Counterfeiting Is A Real Problem On Long Island & The Secret Service Must Devote Necessary Resources; Locals Need More Help To Beat Back The Trend
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Secret Service to step up its efforts to combat the uptick in counterfeit money circulating in the Long Island region. According to the Secret Service, it has been estimated thatmore than $3 million annually in counterfeit money is being circulated on Long Island, which means it is likely there are many more dollars in circulation that have gone undetected. In addition, citing new numbers from the Secret Service, Schumer announced that the amount of counterfeit money on Long Island has increased by $1 million from FY2013 to FY2014. Schumer also highlighted numbers from Nassau and Suffolk Counties showing a troubling increase so far this year. Specifically, at Churchill’s Restaurant, there have reportedly been at least five instances of counterfeiting since the beginning of 2015; Rockville Centre’s Kasey’s Kitchen & Cocktails has also been victimized. And, most recently, three Long Island high school students were charged with possessing fake $20 bills and handing them out to students at Uniondale High School. Schumer says that fake bills are a serious problem for local shop owners, since they have little to no recourse for recouping the money they are owed. Despite the incident with the students, Schumer points out that, according to Long Island law enforcement officials, the most common counterfeit bill is the $100 bill. The bill has a more than 50% chance of being used as a denomination in local counterfeiting scams. Schumer is urging the Secret Service to step up its efforts and work with local law enforcement to get to the bottom of the proliferation of fake currency and to provide the resources and information local retailers need to identify fake bills from the onset.
Schumer was joined by Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray, Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario, and Representatives from the Nassau County Chambers of Commerce and local store owners, who have been the victims of counterfeit transactions, including Kevin Culhane who owns Churchill’s and has been a victim five times since January.
“With counterfeiting at an all-time high on Long Island, local businesses need assistance understanding what’s real and what’s fake, and the Secret Service needs to collaborate closely with local law enforcement to get to the bottom of who is producing this fake currency. Simply put, the Secret Service needs to step up their efforts in the Long Island region,” said Senator Schumer. “With at least $3 million in counterfeit bills circulating on Long Island, who’s to know how many more hundreds of thousands of dollars of fake currency is making its way from the cash register to your pocket? Businesses are unequipped to identify these fake bills, and they are the ones facing a hit to their bottom line that they can ill-afford. The feds must step up efforts to help local retailers better identify fake bills, and we must root this counterfeit currency out at its source.”
“The use of counterfeit currency is not a victimless crime,” commented Village of Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray. “Small business owners for example have little or no recourse for recouping funds they lose through counterfeit activity. It can often leave a shop owner operating on small margins in an extremely difficult position. I commend Senator Charles Schumer for his action to coordinate the efforts of the US Secret Service with our local Police Department to address the problem. We need a coordinated approach among law enforcement to apprehend and convict counterfeit criminals."
Schumer explained that counterfeit currency is often hard to detect because it can exchange hands multiple times – and among completely innocent people – for a long time before it comes to the attention of local law enforcement. For this reason, Schumer said it is likely that there are millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit bills circulating through the Long Island economy right now, and that many local businesses may not even realize yet that they are victims. Schumer said this situation is precarious for businesses, particularly for local, small businesses, whose owners often do not learn they have been holding onto bad bills until they are at the bank and having difficulty depositing the money. What’s more, Schumer said, is there is little to no recourse for businesses that fall victim to counterfeit transactions. Schumer said this means a local business owner could only learn once they have brought a weeks’ worth of sales to the bank that they are holding onto worthless, fake paper notes, and have no way of recouping losses that are no fault of their own.
Across Long Island, there have been numerous instances of counterfeit money circulating. According to media reports, individuals have attempted to use counterfeit money at a BJ’s Wholesale Club on Hempstead Turnpike, Sally’s Beauty Supply in Farmingville and a Hallmark in Farmingville. Most recently, three Uniondale high school students were charged for passing out counterfeit money at their high school. Specifically, according to the Rockville Centre Police Department, in the past two years, there have been 37 reported occurrences of counterfeiting in the Rockville Centre downtown business district. That number may be higher due to unreported instances and instances in which workers are unaware that the bills are counterfeit.
Overall, in Suffolk County there have been 566 reported counterfeit incidents since 2012. This year alone, there have been 42 reported counterfeit incidents in Suffolk County. This puts the county on par to exceed last year’s numbers. In Nassau County, in the past several months, there have been over 160 cases of counterfeiting. All together, the numbers add up to around $3 million in counterfeit cash, according to the Secret Service and local law enforcement officials.
Schumer explained that the problem has become particularly acute since the introduction of the new $100 bill in October 2013. Because the new $100 note looks different from most other bills, and because many local business owners are used to dealing in smaller monetary amounts and are therefore understandably unfamiliar with it, Schumer said it can be very difficult to detect a counterfeit bill in the midst of a transaction. In addition to the introduction of this new $100 bill, there are now three styles of the note currently in circulation, making it even more difficult for business owners to tell what is real and what is fake. Schumer noted that while most counterfeiting takes place with smaller $20 bills, many scammers have used the introduction of this new $100 bill – and retailers’ lack of knowledge of it – to their advantage; many of the recent counterfeit instances have involved fake $100 notes.
On the heels of this uptick in counterfeit currency in the Long Island area, Schumer is calling on the Secret Service, the agency responsible for investigating and tracking counterfeit money, to increase its efforts in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Schumer said that while the Secret Service is aware of some counterfeit activity on Long Island, it must increase its coordination with local law enforcement and get to the bottom of where the counterfeit money is emanating from.
Therefore, Schumer is urging the Secret Service to step up efforts and collaborate more proactively with local law enforcement and make sure that all lines of communication are open across the region, state and country to get to the bottom of who is producing these fake currency notes and how they are doing so. Schumer said that local law enforcement authorities need to have better coordination with the Secret Service in order to identify how to stop this counterfeiting from undermining local businesses, and that the Secret Service can do more to educate local business owners about how to spot these fake bills.
Beginning in 1999, the Secret Service began detecting highly deceptive counterfeit $100 Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) in New York City. The counterfeit bills, which are believed to have been manufactured outside of the country through off-set printing, have been circulated predominately along the I-95 corridor and eastern United States. More recently, beginning in January 2014, the enterprise allegedly established a domestic printing plant in New Jersey. According to the Secret Service, counterfeit money continues to represent a potential danger to the nation's economy and its citizens. Production methods used in counterfeiting operations have evolved over the years from the traditional method of offset printing to color copiers and, more recently, to scanners, computers and inkjet printers.
The Secret Service has noted that many of today's counterfeiters have moved from the traditional method of offset printing, which has its own set of required skills, to computer-generated counterfeiting. Today's counterfeiter is able to produce counterfeit currency with basic computer training and skills afforded by trial and error, and public education. Counterfeit passing statistics are likely to increase because of several factors: these instruments of production are more readily available, the capabilities of these machines continue to improve and the techniques are more readily understood by an increasingly larger segment of the population, including those with criminal intent.