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Circuit Court Clerk warns of counterfeit bills

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By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson Post

Circuit Court Clerk Linda Neal wants to warn the public, especially local retailers, to be aware that some counterfeit money has shown up in recent days.

Neal said late Tuesday that someone passed to her office two $100 bills on Monday that turned out to be counterfeit. The bank where her office’s deposits are made, Wilson Bank & Trust, detected the counterfeit money on Tuesday.

“We depend on out counterfeit detection pens,” she said, but “they didn’t detect it nor did the bank’s.”

The bank did detect the counterfeit money when the bills were run through a machine that counts money and that has a detection system built in.

Neal reported it immediately to Lebanon Police Department and also to county audit officials regarding procedures she needs to take in the future to guard against fake bills being passed.

She added that she has not spoken to Federal officials regarding the matter.

Neal said she has not heard of any other office or local retailer who has also been the victim of counterfeit money, but she wanted to get the word out to everyone to be aware and to be careful.

“They need to take precautions,” she said. Neal noted that usually counterfeit detection pens are the best way to detect counterfeit bills, and they are not that expensive to purchase.

Neal noted that in this instance, however, a bank official told her the fake bills were some of the best they had ever seen and referred to them as “washed bills.”

She added, “I will probably put into place (a requirement) where we check even lower bills” such as $10s and $20s at her office.

Neal said her office, which accepts payments for court fees and fines, has been on the receiving end of counterfeit money before, but it has been several years since that occurred.

“We’ve not had a problem since,” she added.

Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said the matter is in the initial investigation stage, but he also wanted to caution local retailers and others to pay attention when accepting cash.

“Linda reported it to us,” he said. “They took all the precautions they could up front” but the fake money still made it through.

He noted that Neal’s employees are trained and he urged others businesses that accept cash to make sure their workers were trained properly in how to detect counterfeit money.

Even with training, however, Bowen said counterfeit bills still sometimes make it through.

The police chief said business owners should pay attention if the same person comes into their establishment and tries to pass large bills or if they see anything suspicious to call police.

“It sounds like they did everything they could do,” he said of Neal’s office. “It sounds like they were proactive.”

“We do tend to see that if they’re passed (counterfeit bills) at one place sometimes they’ll be passed somewhere else,” Bowen said, echoing Neal’s concern to be aware.

Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com.

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