Investigators say Leander man manufactured fake money

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) We all work hard for a paycheck but a Leander man is in jail tonight accused of manufacturing fake money. It happened in Leander where authorities are saying they found large amounts of counterfeit bills in the suspect’s home. Some experts tell KXAN it’s a crime happening more often.

Texas Pawn and Jewelry owner, Todd Farr has caught customers trying to pay with fake money.

“All of our loans have to be paid in cash. When we give out money it’s in cash.” he said. “I ended up with a fake $100 bill at our other store and they white washed the bill and printed it with a $100 and we missed it.”

In that case he was out $95. Now he says he’s more cautious, double even triple checking the bills people use to pay with.

Not far from his Leander shop, authorities arrested a 29-year-old man they say was making fake money in his bedroom. Investigators say they found several items including printers, ink, clippings and cutting instruments commonly used to manufacture fake money.

Fraud experts tell KXAN there are some little things that make real money different from fake money.

“Most real money is durable, it’s crisp,” said Steve Russo with Watchful Eye Investigations. “You can tell. Paper money can get warn if you hold on to it long enough.”

Russo is an expert in fraud and says criminals’ trying to use fake money is becoming more common. KXAN asked, “Is it that easy to manufacture counterfeit money? Russo says, “It is. Unfortunately if you have the right equipment which you can purchase in most office supplies stores…you can do it.”

Neal Skillman is charged with Forgery which is a 3rd degree felony. If convicted, he could spend up to 10 years in prison. Investigators won’t say how much fake money was found in his home. They’ll only say a large quantity.

By now, you’ve likely used a counterfeit bill without even knowing it. That’s because an estimated $70 million in counterfeit bills are already in circulation. That’s about one note for every 10,000 genuine bills. In the US, 20-dollar bills are the most counterfeit. Overseas, the 100 dollar bill is reproduced the most. In fact, two years ago the Federal Reserve started supplying banks with this new, redesigned 100-dollar bill. It has anti-counterfeiting features. One is a blue, three-dimensional security ribbon with images of bells and 100s. Another is a color-changing bell in the inkwell. The new Benjamin’s also include security features from previous designs.

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