Counterfeit money working its way through the Northeast - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Counterfeit money working its way through the Northeast

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By: Samantha Lavien

Twitter: @samanthalavien

Investigators in Canada cracked down on an elaborate counterfeit operation where hundreds of millions of dollars worth of phony $20 bills were made. Authorities now believe many of those bills are circulating throughout the Northeast.

"No one better than me,” said the man who claims responsibility for making the fake money, Frank Bourassa. “It's me. Best counterfeiter right now. No one better than me. It's me."

Investigators think the operation turned out a quarter of a billion dollars in fake bills.

"It was a thrill absolutely. It's supposed to not be possible and people like me we thrive on that very much,” said Bourassa

Authorities say the counterfeits are so good that the untrained eye wouldn't know they are fake. It's that fact that has many local business owners worried.

"If there's 20's out there that's probably the most predominant bill that most people pay with at our store,” said David Barricelli one of the owners of Park Wine and Spirits in Cranston.

Barricelli says his store is equipped with a machine to help tell the real bills from the fake.

"We try to be vigilant and watch them periodically, but with this situation with the 20's we will train our staff to look out for those bills as well," said Barricelli.

Over at the Moon Market in Cranston, the owner tells ABC 6 News they deal with counterfeit money quite frequently. Mohammad Katcan says the news that more could be in the area is alarming.

"We try our hardest to figure out if they are. We try the ridges; we look at the line to make sure that they're not fake,” said Katcan the owner and manager of the Moon Market. But it does concern me because we do lose the money if we don't find out."

As for Bourassa, he spent a short time in prison. His operation has been shut down, but those bills are still out there in circulation.

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