Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 29, 2013

Bogus bills surge in summer

TAHLEQUAH — Back in the days of the country’s civil war, about a third of the money floating around was believed to be counterfeit.

But things were different back then. Banks issued their own U.S. currency, with about 1,600 state banks designing and printing their own notes, according to the U.S. Secret Service. Of course, each bank had its own designs in place, which at times made it a monumental task to distinguish between some 4,000 varieties of counterfeit notes and around 7,000 real notes.

Counterfeiting today may not be as big a problem as it was in the 19th century, but the issue still exists, even as technology is introduced to make the process more and more difficult.

Tahlequah Police Detective Jeff Haney has studied the issues associated with counterfeit bills. Haney said city businesses – and perhaps indirectly, local banks – often see an increase in counterfeit bills being passed during the summer months.

“They always seem to go around during vacation time,” said Haney.

“People visiting here pass their fake bills at a very busy business, or at a small mom-and-pop place.”

Fake money usually presents itself in the form of larger notes, such as a $20 bill or a $100 bill.

“[Counterfeiters] look for the most amount of money with the least amount of effort,” said Haney.

Of the many ways to distinguish real money from the opposite, Haney said the best method is perhaps checking the security thread imbedded on bills larger than $1.

Genuine money created after the early 1990s includes a security thread, and each bill’s thread denotes what type of currency it is. This thread is visible only when held up to light, and each denomination also has a unique thread position.

The thread of a $5 bill glows blue when held up to an ultraviolet light source; on a $10 bill, it glows orange; on a $20 bill, green; on a $50 bill, yellow; and on a $100 bill, light red or pink.

The $1 bill does not have a security thread.

“Look for the strip and read the strip,” said Haney. “It will spell out what kind of bill it is.”

Haney said testing the thread is important because some who counterfeit bills have bleached a smaller note – such as a $1 or $5 bill – and reprinted it as a higher denomination.

“I wish we could get all of the convenience stores to buy those ultraviolet lights,” said Haney.

“That would help catch a lot of the fake money that’s being passed.”

And it would cut down on the loss of money to individuals and businesses who end up with those fake bills.

Bank of Cherokee County Chairman and CEO Gary Chapman said banks are required to turn over any counterfeit bills to the U.S. Secret Service.

“If we take it in a deposit, and we just find it, we’re out the money,” said Chapman.

If the bank catches the counterfeit while taking money from an individual or commercial client, that customer then has to “take the hit, so to speak,” Chapman said.

“We have to turn it into the feds,” he said.

“But I don’t know that I’ve seen [a counterfeit bill] in six months. Our people are not officially schooled in verifying counterfeits, but they’re really good at it. There is a marker that you can put a small mark on the bill, and if it turns one color or another, it basically says the bill is counterfeit. Our people are also very good at looking at the watermarks in the bills and spotting them. We’ve got people that have been in the business 25, 30 years, and they can almost look at one and say whether it’s counterfeit.”


To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

Text Only
Local News
  • TPS looking to fill several positions before school starts

    The Tahlequah I-35 Board of Education held a special meeting last night, to bring more certified personnel and support staff on board before school starts.

    August 1, 2014

  • svw-beagles-MAIN.jpg Going to the dogs

    Hounds at center stage for more than just Red Fern Festival

    Larry Blackman and Titus Blanket have always loved dogs, especially beagles. In their respective roles as president and vice president of the Cherokee County Beagle Club, they’ve turned that love into a passion.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • sanders-jeri.jpg Murder charge against mother of dead boy, 3, dismissed

    A first-degree murder charge has been dropped against a 37-year-old mother accused in the death of her 3-year-old son.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • supersalary.jpg Okla. superintendents paid comparatively well; teachers 46th lowest

    Administrators say they work year-round, have other duties

    As public education in Oklahoma continues to feel the pinch of a shrinking state budget, watchdog groups and district patrons across the state are asking whether superintendents are getting a disproportionate piece of the financial pie.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Boards keep city, county afloat

    City and county officials rely on a variety of boards to oversee diverse and complex issues, and many of their members work behind the scenes to keep the wheels of government oiled and turning.
    The city of Tahlequah currently has 10 boards and three trust authorities. Cherokee County has two county-specific boards.

    July 31, 2014

  • HPWA contract raises gas to $3.99 a gallon

    The Hulbert Public Works Authority renewed its natural gas contract with Constellation Energy July 29, raising fuel prices to $3.99 per gallon for the next two years.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tourism Council OKs compensation

    The Tahlequah Area Tourism Council held its annual retreat Wednesday, and approved paying former Director Kate Kelly 100 hours of annual leave.

    July 31, 2014

  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN