Counterfeit Money Lesson: You Get It, You’re Screwed


The L.A. Times talks to a guy today who ended up with $800 in counterfeit bills after cashing a money order at the Post Office. He tried to spend one of the eight $100 bills he had, and almost got arrested, before insisting that he was on the receiving end of that transaction previously, and that they weren’t his. So what happens now?

  • The Postal Service has “nothing in [their] regulations to address this.
  • The Secret Service (who work for the Department of the Treasury) told him that “whoever ends up with (fake money) last is the victim.” Because they’re sure as hell not giving him any free money.
  • If he tries to spend it, he’ll be arrested and could be spanked with 20 years in a federal prison.

Essentially, he’s screwed. And so are you if you get counterfeit bills. Lesson: before you get handed a stack of hundreds, look at them in the light, so you don’t end up getting laughed at and $800 in the hole when someone tells you this:

“The police said the $100 bills were actually $5 bills that had been bleached and altered,” Lipin recalled. “They showed me how you could hold them up to the light and see Abraham Lincoln’s face. All eight turned out to be counterfeit.

Or avoid $100 bills. Or avoid cash. Or avoid going outside and dealing with the forces of the universe trying to screw you. Those all work, too.