Funny money passed by Dillingham teens, say police

Apr 6, 2017

DPD takes several reports of fake $100 bills passed as real, mostly by teens who have been identified and, after their parents made good on the theft, spoken to sternly by the chief.

A $10,000 bundle of "prop money" can be purchased from online retailers like Amazon for less than $25. At first glance, the bills look and feel remarkably real.
Credit KDLG

KDLG: Fake $100 bills, known as "prop money" for use in movies and TV, have been passed as real several times in Dillingham recently. To the extent police are aware, these bills have only been used by prankster teens and have so far not turned up amongst heroin and meth users.

Chief Dan Pasquariello with one of the fake $100 bills that teens had tried to pass as real in Dillingham.
Credit KDLG

“These counterfeit hundred dollar bills look fairly real, except that instead of 'The United States of America' they say 'For Motion Picture Use Only' on both the front and back," said DPD chief Dan Pasquariello. "There’s slight differences in the engraving, there’s no dome on the Capitol building on the back of it, but at a quick glance it would look real."

All three reported incidents involved juveniles. Two teens made some purchases of energy drinks and snacks at one downtown grocery using the funny money. When that worked, they tried again at the next grocery store and got caught by an astute cashier. The police department was notified, tracked down the boys, and sat them down for a talking to.

“Spoke to those kids, and one of them stated he had purchased thousands of dollars off the internet," said Pasquariello. "He purchased it because he thought it would be neat to have a bunch of fake money, him being a kid. Then they just got it in their heads one day to try to pass it off."

Their parents paid the stores back, said Pasquariello.

Another woman gave change from a counterfeit hundred to another juvenile. She unwittingly used that fake bill for a money order at the Post Office, where it was discovered. She too paid the Post Office back and was out of a hundred dollars.

Most of the $10,000 bundle of prop money, which was purchased legally for roughly $25 through an online retailer, was turned over to police. Some may still be circulating, and Pasquariello warns others may now be tempted to try the same.

"People should just be wary every time somebody hands them a $100 bill," he said. "The main clue is instead of 'The United States of America' it says 'For Motion Picture Use Only'."

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or 907.842.5281.