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         Daily Blog - Tiger Software

           How Big A Threat To The Dollar
                  Is Counterfeiting?

                                October 21, 2007

William Schmidt,     - Tiger Software's Creator
      (C) 2007 William Schmidt, Ph. D.  - All Rights Reserved. 

      No reproductions of this blog or quoting from it
      without explicit written consent by its author is permitted.

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      to william_schmidt@hotmail.com

                                                                            CASH REGISTER DISPLAY
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                                                               Wells Fargo Gave Me A Bad $20

                                     My interest in this subject began a couple of months ago when Wells Fargo
                            gave me what a local gas station attendant a few hours later deemed to be a counterfeit $20. 
                            The attendant wanted to keep it and have me give him another $20 bill, too.  I said "NO". and
                            gave the questionable bill the next day as payment for fast food.  They took the "Jackson"
                            without comment.  Later that day, I went back to the bank and asked them about
                            their safeguards to ensure that they don't pass them to customers.  Mostly, I was
                            told they depend upon their tellers and occasional mechanical checkings.  Had I brought
                            the bill back to them, they might have taken it from without compensation!

                                     In 1861, one of every three greenbacks was a counterfeit.  But the US survived.
                            Maybe, I make too much of the problem of counterfeiting here.  Still, the US Dollar
                            is very weak, declining at an accelerating 7.5% rate this past year.  At the very least, this
                            little essay will get some of you to look more closely at the money you take so
                            confidently from a merchant or even a bank!

                         Spot counterfeit money

Portrait: A genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background which is often too dark or mottled.


Federal Reserve and Treasury Seals: On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp. The seals of counterfeit money may have uneven, blunt, or broken saw-tooth points.


Border: The fine lines in the border of genuine money are clear and unbroken. On counterfeit money, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.


Serial Numbers: Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury Seal. On counterfeit money, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.


Paper: Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. But on counterfeit money the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper. It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency.



Genuine paper currency is sometimes altered in an attempt to increase its face value. One common method is to glue numerals from higher denomination notes to the corners of lower denomination notes.


                    How Big A Threat To The Dollar Is Counterfeiting?
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                              Could You Tell The Difference between A Good One And A Bad One?     

                                  The Secret Service tells us that the amount of counterfeit money in the US that has been
                         detected has risen from $39.2 million in 1999 to $62 million in 2006. Despite the rise, "the amount
                         of fake money in circulation is a fraction of 1% of genuine currency", Secret Service spokesman
                         Eric Zahren says.  Unfortunately, ten years ago the Secret Service told Congress that counterfeit
                         money was estimated to be only 1/1000 of the money in circulation.  So, your chances of seeing
                         counterfeit money may be 10 times what it was ten years ago,

                                       As the technology for scanning, digital color and offset printing has become much so
                          improved and so much cheaper, more and more "amateurs: are getting in on the scam. "The crooks
                          are bold. One person who was arrested charged people, including an undercover agent, for a
                          counterfeiting how-to class. One man was arrested after dancers in a strip club realized he was passing
                          out fake bills and called police while the bouncer held the man. A 62-year-old woman known as
                          Grandma was caught this month trying to sell fake money at less than face value."  Here is a
                         bag of counterfeit money confidcated from a 15-year old Florida student

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                                   ( http://www.usatoday.com/money/2007-02-27-counterfeit-usat_x.htm )

                                  Your eyes are almost certainly better than mine. But I know I wouldn't be able to catch
                            many of these counterfeits.  I think the trend is clear.  Paper money can be more and more cheaply
                            and exactly duplicated.  We will eventually have to depend exclusively on electronic transactions. 
                            The US government will, of course, deny the extent and growth of the problem, all the while they
                            are working hard to make US currency harder to exactly counterfeit.  More colors,
                            color shifting, watermarks, and imbedded metal tags have recently been added.  That
                            will work for a while, but the counterfeiters are determioned and very skilled, and most of
                            us don't have the time, eyes or the expertise to catch the bad bills.

                                               The World Wide Threat of Counterfeiting

More than 60% of US currency is abroad. A higher percentage is counterfeited there.
                         Terrorist and drug cartels have the money to buy the best equipment for counterfeiting.
                         Some counterfeiters are supported  by officals in countries like North Korea.  The money
                         may be used to pay for expensive nuclear projects.  And its production may even be aimed
                         at destroying world wide confidence in the US Dollar.  Professional foreign counterfeiters use
                         "offset printing methods to make a printing press from a photographic negative of a genuine" bill.  
                         It takes an experienced bank teller to detect these "SUPER" counterfeits.   American Treasury
                         overseas efforts to trackdown counterfeiters tend to come in irregular spurts or campaigns. Some
                         years there is more pressure than others to find the bad money.  For many reasons, the amount of
                         counterfeit money in circulation, can not be known.  Some countries even report no counterfeiting,
                         though they are known to have lots of it.  Foreign law enforcement officals vary widely in their impression
                         about the extent to which US money is counterfeited.. Swiss, Italian & Hungarian emphasize how
                         widespread it is, atrributing it to professional counterfeiters in Eastern European and in the
                         former Soviet Union.

                                      The BBC’s investigative program Panorama researched the "Super" Counterfeit
                         Dollar. Here is their report:.

                                                                              North Korea

A superdollar is an almost perfect counterfeit American dollar bill....Millions of dollars of the fake
                         cash have been passed into circulation since its existence was first noticed over a decade ago.   The
                         money, officially known as Note Family - C14342, is thought to originate from communist North Korea.
                         Experts believe that the money is being produced and flooded into the system, mostly by North Korean
                         diplomats as they travel abroad. It is also circulated by criminals - with the Russian mafia and even
                         Republican organisations in Northern Ireland involved in the distribution process...North Korea
                         dismisses the allegations and says that the claims being made against it are just Western propaganda.

                         "What is known, is that in the late 1980s, US Intelligence discovered that the North Korean government
                          had acquired a highly sophisticated printing press, known as the intaglio. This press is similar to the
                          one used to print money in the US and would give North Korea the ability to produce sophisticated
                           banknotes if they wanted to. Further evidence comes from defectors, whose stories all seem to be
                           consistent with US claims

Although it is impossible to corroborate their stories, they appear to be consistent.  One defector who
                          spoke to Panorama on the condition of anonymity said he had spent his life making counterfeit US
                          dollars, adding that they were such good quality that they fooled experts. He said: “The counterfeiting
                          was all done at government level. We had a special plant for doing it.  “When I defected I brought
                          some of these counterfeit notes to South Korea, and I showed them to the experts in the South
                          Korean intelligence agency. They said - these are not fake notes. They’re real.”   Another defector
                          said: “We bought the best of everything - the best equipment and the best ink. But we also had the
                          very best people, people who had real expertise and knowledge in the field. “When government
                          officials or diplomats travelled to south-east Asia they distributed the counterfeit notes mixed in with
                          the real one’s, at a ratio of about 50:50"...

                          ... A  "police investigation produced a detailed picture of an international counterfeiting cartel. The
                         surveillance shows that it's all run by a tightly knit group of criminals. They're getting their hands on the
                         superdollars in Moscow. The counterfeit cash is then smuggled to Dublin, from Ireland it's taken to
                         Birmingham and distributed in the criminal underworld. Much of it is then bought in bulk by one man."
                            "Panorama" interviewed the Russian Interior Ministry General Vladimir Uskov, whose men reportedly
                         followed Sean Garland as he visited the North Korean Embassy in Moscow. "We registered his contacts
                         with the North Korean Embassy," Uskov said. "He visited the embassy several times. The fact [that] he
                         went to the North Korean Embassy, our information was that people working there might have been
                         involved in the transportation of counterfeit dollars."

                                                                   Iran and Syria
                                    North Korea is not the only country to have been accused by the United States of counterfeiting
                           $100 bills on a grand scale. The U.S. Public Broadcasting System (PBS) program "Nova" on
                           22 October 1996 reported that the governments of Iran and Syria had been accused by U.S.
                           Congressional investigators of involvement in the production and distribution of high-quality dollar bills.
                           The Iranian government dismissed the charges, and no indictments were ever filed.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hezbollah And Counterfeiting

I came across some information which appears to link Hezbollah to counterfeiting, even including US $100 bills - example below. The info comes from an on line Intel page and one always has to question the veracity of some of the information available through such sites. There's information and dis-information ... and then just plain BS. But this looks somewhat legit, as if that can even be trusted.

There's also additional info through linked sites and an available doc file linked below as well.

Hezbollah as producer and distributor of forged notes

• During the second half of the 1990s, money counterfeiting in the Bekaa region continued to thrive. However, though the fake dollars were still of high quality, they did not match the standards of the “Super Dollar”. In this “industry”, Hezbollah plays a prominent role, while joining forces with criminal elements and taking advantage of its powerful position in the Bekaa and its relations with Iran and Syria.

• The Bekaa region is the heart of the counterfeiting “industry” in Lebanon. The Hezbollah-controlled town of Brital, south of Baalbek (which is home to a population of some 7,000 Shiites) is the main center of money counterfeiting. In the second half of the 1990s, Brital housed an estimated ten to fifteen printing presses. These presses were operated in homes and workshops, and specialized in various lines of production, in particular high-quality fake 100-dollar bills. In the past they also produced fake 20-dollar and 50-dollar bills as well as fake currency of other Western and Arab countries, of varying qualities. Reports from the last two years confirm that

the counterfeiting “industry” in Bekaa is still thriving, and that Hezbollah as well as criminal elements are involved in it.

• The Lebanese counterfeiting “industry” is in the hands of powerful criminal elements, mainly members of large Shiite clans who closely cooperate with Hezbollah. The leading clans in this respect are Mazloum, Saleh, Sadek, Tles (in Brital) and al-Masri (in the village Hawr Ta’ala, south of Brital). Hezbollah also maintains relations with southern Lebanese clans engaged in large-scale drug smuggling, such as Nahra (from Ibl al-Saqi) and Berro (from the village Kafr Kila).

• Hezbollah’s involvement in the money counterfeiting “industry” allows it to benefit from the proceeds of this industry, and also entails operational advantages for its overseas activities. The technical know-how required for counterfeiting was exploited, as a by-product, to develop a sophisticated apparatus of document forgery. This apparatus produces passports used by Hezbollah operatives, and exports its “products” all over the world, mainly to Russia, the Ukraine, Cyprus, Latin American countries, and Arab countries.

• As for the Israeli market: fake dollars, originating from Lebanon, have been found in the past in Israel. As of now, there are no indications of attempts to “export” large amounts of forged notes to Israel. During an Israeli military operation in the

Palestinian territories, the Palestinian Security forces were found in possession of forged Israeli notes, but these did not originate from Lebanon. Nonetheless, both Iran and Hezbollah have the technological capabilities enabling them to flood the Israeli market with high-quality counterfeit notes, if and when the decision is made to do so.

Specimens of counterfeit notes from the “production line” of the printing presses in the town Brital (as of 1998)

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A fake 100-dollar bill produced by a printing press owned by the Mazloum clan: high-quality forgery featuring good print quality, a good watermark, printed fibers on the paper, and a security stripe with delicate “USA” print.

Counterfeiting money

The Iranian and Syrian roles

Iran is an important center of the global counterfeiting industry. Several Iranian attempts to flood the world market with high-quality fake US dollar notes were uncovered during the 1990s. However, the volumes circulated were not such as could severely harm the American economy.

• Iran’s relative advantage in this respect is its access to advanced technologies, which enable it to produce fake 100-dollar bills of outstanding quality (the so-called “Super Dollars” or “Super Notes”). The manufacture of “Super Dollars” requires a combination of photogravure printmaking, sophisticated printing blocks, special ink and paper, proficiency in color separation, and the technical ability to reproduce security features (e.g., security stripes). These technologies and know-how are typical of national authorities, not of terror and crime organizations, let alone individuals. Iran owes these advanced capabilities to none other than the United States, who supplied them to the Shah’s regime; the Ayatollahs’ regimes employed them to forge American money.

• In order to ward off incriminating evidence and avoid an entanglement with the United States, Iran chose to use Hezbollah (and possibly other Lebanese elements as well) as personnel for the manufacture and circulation of counterfeit notes. To this effect, Iran shipped counterfeit notes to Lebanon and supplied it with advanced technologies. In the early 1990s, “Super Dollar” notes surfaced in Lebanon’s Bekaa. It seems that in the initial stage these notes were printed in Tehran, and Lebanon was used only as distribution center. However, at some point in the early 1990s, Iran provided Lebanon with intaglio machines, and the Baalbek region in Syrian-controlled Bekaa became a production and marketing center of “Super Dollar” notes.

On June 15, 1996, Elaine Sciolino and Douglas Jehl published an article in the New York Times about Syria’s support of terrorism titled “Syrian’s [sic] Game: Both Ends Against the Middle” [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E16F73C5D0C768DDDAF0894DE494D81].

The article refers among other things to the Syrian support of the drug and money counterfeiting “industries” in Lebanon. The following is an excerpt from the article, which appeared under the heading “A blind eye to drugs and counterfeiting”:
“Syria also tolerates the counterfeiting of $100 bills in the Bekaa.

The Bekaa and other parts of Lebanon have produced high-quality fake $100 bills for years. In recent years, the Lebanese and the Syrian authorities have uncovered offset presses and confiscated millions of dollars and other currencies. But American officials are much more worried about “super notes”, phony $100 bills made with rag cotton paper and printed on huge, sophisticated intaglio machines used by the United States. The first “Super Note” surfaced in Hong Kong in 1989, but they appeared shortly afterwards in the Bekaa, Treasury Department officials said.

President Clinton raised the issue of counterfeiting – particularly the “Super note” – with Assad at their meeting in Geneva in January 1994, asking for help in uncovering the network. Christopher has asked the same question several times since.”

For more info, see Allah's post - Sticky Notes and LGF, Michelle, ALF - Myrtus

Also, I have a saved doc here which includes all of the above and more. You may be able to find additional info here.

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