Customs officials in Philadelphia seize $6.5 million in fake money from Russia

Fake currency
$US6.5 ($AU9) million in fake money was seized by customs officials in Philadelphia. U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Customs officials in Philadelphia seized $US6.5 ($AU9) million in counterfeit dollars and euros sent in air cargo from Russia.
  • The money was labeled as “Play Money for Monopoly.”
  • Roughly $US220 ($AU304) million in counterfeit bills are in circulation and often used to fund criminal activity, federal officials said.
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US Customs and Border Patrol officers in Philadelphia seized $US6.5 ($AU9) million in fake currency from Russia that was listed on the manifest as “Play Money for Monopoly.”

The fake bills were made up of counterfeit dollars and euros that were sent in international air cargo from Russia and bound for a location near Chicago, the CBP said Thursday in a press release. In September, CBP seized roughly $US3 ($AU4) million in fake bills.

The fake currency, seized on Tuesday, will be turned over to the Secret Service, the CBP said. Though the bills were labeled as prop money, they’re considered counterfeit bills because they’re too similar to actual currency.

“This is an outstanding interception by Customs and Border Protection officers of an alarming amount of restricted currency that may be altered to look authentic and potentially used to hurt our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” Edward Moriarty, CBP’s acting area port director in Philadelphia, said.

Fake money is often used to fund criminal activity, like terrorism, financial fraud, and drug smuggling, customs officials said. Around $US220 ($AU304) million in fake currency is circulating around the U.S. at any given time, and roughly three-quarters of counterfeiting offenders are sentenced to prison.

You can detect whether a bill is counterfeit by paying attention to the texture of the bill; examining blurry spots on bills, which are a hallmark of fake currency; and making sure that serial numbers are evenly spaced and perfectly aligned, CBP said.