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The bill on top is a counterfeit bill the Brainerd Police Department reports being passed at area businesses. The bill below is genuine. Significant differences: On the counterfeit, Benjamin Franklin’s making a different face with a raised eyebrow; in place of “The United States of America,” it reads “For motion picture use only”; the top reads “One Hundred” instead of “One Hundred Dollars.” The counterfeit has a different 'feel' than genuine paper money. Chelsey Perkins/Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd Police: Counterfeit $100 bills being passed

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By Chelsey Perkins/Brainerd Dispatch

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The Brainerd Police Department is warning area businesses and residents to look out for counterfeit $100 bills, several of which have been recovered this week.

Investigator Craig Katzenberger said the department has received eight reports related to the counterfeit bills this week. Some were reported by businesses after attempted use and others were reported found on the ground by individuals. At least one business accepted a counterfeit bill.

The department first encountered the bills on Tuesday, when a 25-year-old woman attempted to use one for payment. She was arrested on a gross misdemeanor charge of possession of counterfeit currency.

The bills themselves are nearly the same size as genuine $100 bills and are similar in appearance. They do not have the same feel as a real bill however; the paper has a smoother texture. A counterfeit detector pen has successfully been used to identify at least one of the counterfeits.

There are also several noticeable differences between the bills that businesses and consumers should be aware of:

• The counterfeit bill states, "This note is not legal, it is to be used for motion pictures."

• The counterfeit bill reads, "For motion picture use only" in several areas, most noticeably in place of "The United States of America" and "Federal Reserve Note."

• Benjamin Franklin is depicted as pursing his lips with a raised eyebrow on the counterfeit bill.

• Instead of "One Hundred Dollars," the top of the bill reads, "One Hundred."

• The portrait watermark of Benjamin Franklin, located on the right side of the bill, is not visible on the counterfeit.

• The blue strip down the middle is printed on the counterfeit, rather than the reflective ribbon that is woven into the genuine bill.

Katzenberger said the source of the fake bills is still under investigation, and the United States Secret Service has been notified.

A July 31 article from the Log Cabin Democrat of Conway, Ark., reported similar circumstances of counterfeit $100 printed with "For motion picture use only" being passed at businesses.

The bills are known as "prop money," which can be legally purchased online. A disclaimer on a website that sells prop money states that the bills are created from artist renderings, not from illegally scanning genuine money.

"They are made by using elements such as borders, custom designed art, custom fonts, custom designed logos, emblems and clip art," the disclaimer states.

The bills can be customized with company logos or other artwork upon request, but the company's policy says they will not remove "For motion picture use only" from the prop money.

"Any request that can make our prop money appear or pass as real currency in order to deceive an individual in an unlawful manner will be quickly turned down," reads the disclaimer.

Anyone with information should contact the Brainerd Police Department at 829-2805.

Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch

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