Counterfeit bills being passed

n Targets have included Caribou Coffee, Holiday, Walmart, Marcus Theater and Elk River Girl Scouts


by Jim Boyle


Con artists passing counterfeit money in Elk River have hit everything from a gas station and the town’s lone movie theater to two Caribou Coffee shops, Walmart and the hot dog stand at Coborn’s Superstore.

At least one garage sale host and an Elk River Girl Scout Troop reportedly have been targeted, too.

“(People and businesses) need to be checking their bills,” Elk River Police Capt. Bob Kluntz said.

Most of the fake currency has been counterfeit $20 bills, Kluntz said, while noting at least one was a bogus $50 bill.

Kluntz said, in that instance, a woman tried to spend the bill on July 11 at the Elk River Walmart, but an alert clerk it. The woman said she received the bill at a recent garage sale she hosted, Kluntz said.

The Elk River Police Department is working on the case with the U.S. Secret Service, the federal agency tasked with tracking and investigating counterfeiting schemes. Kluntz said Elk River authorities have been forwarding information and the counterfeit money on to the federal agency for further investigation.

In more than one case, the suspects have been described as African American males. Both were described as having thin builds and were approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall, Kluntz said.

One of those two suspects has been pegged for his early to mid-20s, while the other has been describes as in his late to mid-40s.

The most recent report of fraud came in on July 21 at the Caribou Coffee in the 18000 block of Freeport Avenue.

One day earlier, police were called to a hot dog stand outside of Coborn’s, 19425 Evans St., to take a report of a counterfeit $20 bill. While there, police took another report from the Caribou Coffee inside Coborn’s. Caribou employees said one counterfeit bill was passed by each of two individuals.

Back on July 17, Marcus Theaters in Elk River, 500 block of Freeport St., and Holiday gas station, 18000 block of Freeport Avenue, reported receiving fake $20 bills.

Several days earlier, Walmart was falling victim to the con artists. The store had four fake bills come in on July 15 and more on July 13.

Police are examining surveillance videos in some of the fraud cases and are accepting information from the public at 763-635-1200.

Know your money: 

The public’s role in detecting fake money

The public has a role in maintaining the integrity of U.S. currency. You can help guard against the threat from counterfeiters by becoming more familiar with the currency.

Look at the money you receive. Compare a suspect bill with a genuine bill of the same denomination and series, paying attention to the quality of printing and paper characteristics. Look for differences, not similarities.

Genuine portrait

The 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 sawtooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp. The counterfeit seals may have uneven, blunt or broken sawtooth points.


The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken. On the counterfeit, 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 a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.

Genuine 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. Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit note 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 U.S. currency.

For more information, visit know_your_money.shtml

The source of the above information was: