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Police finding counterfeit bills

Ben Godar

Police have encountered at least two cases of someone trying to pass

a counterfeit $100 bill recently, and said other fake bills may be in

local circulation.


Admond Safyani, a 35-year- old Burbank man, was arrested Aug. 2 at

Ralph’s, 25 E. Alameda Ave., on suspicion of trying to make a

purchase with a fake $100 bill. He told police he was given the bill

as change, but police said they found other counterfeit bills in his



Also this month, another man tried to make a purchase with a fake

$100 bill at In-N-Out, 761 First St., but police did not arrest him

because it appeared he had unknowingly received the bill as change,

spokesman Sgt. William Berry said.

With two instances of counterfeit bills in such a short period of

time, police said it is possible other bills might be in circulation

in Burbank because counterfeiters often pass several bills in one


area and then move on in order to elude capture, Berry said.

While people who receive a counterfeit bill as change often try to

pass it themselves so as not to lose the money, Berry said doing so

could result in criminal charges.

“You don’t have to print it,” he said. “If you knowingly pass it

you could be in trouble.”

Burbank Police have notified the Secret Service about the

counterfeiting cases, which is a federal crime. In addition to the


criminal investigations, Burbank Police hold training sessions to

teach retailers how to identify counterfeit bills. Shortly before the

Empire Center opened, police held a training session for

representatives from center businesses.

American currency has a number of security features that identify

it as authentic, but Det. Matt Ferguson said nearly all counterfeit

bills could be detected with just a quick glance.

“Most of the people who catch counterfeit money have not had any

training,” he said.

One of the easiest ways to identify a counterfeit bill is by the

quality of the paper, Ferguson said, because the material that real

bills are printed on is actually linen. Berry said it is also

difficult for counterfeiters to match the intricate printing of real


“Lots of times the eyes give it away,” he said. “It’s hard to get

those little circles perfect.”

While it might be difficult for retailers to scrutinize every

transaction, Ferguson said they should be suspicious of anyone making

small purchases with large bills.

“Many times a crook will try to make an $8 purchase with a fake

$100 bill so they get a real $92 back,” he said. “It’s a good policy

not to accept large bills for small purchases.”

Anyone who believes he or she has received counterfeit money can

contact Burbank Police at 238-3000.