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Cartersville police issue warning about counterfeit money

06/25/14 3:45 p.m.

A day after a man was arrested on forgery charges after police found him with counterfeit bill, Cartersville police have issued an alert to warn citizens about phony money.

Cartersville police found a printer and templates to make counterfeit money during their arrest of a man on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a police report, police spotted the vehicle of Mario Santana on Mull Street. Santana had a warrant for first degree forgery.

Police asked Santana to stop out of the car and show his driver’s license, which confirmed he was wanted on a forgery charge.

During a search after his arrest, police found $110 in counterfeit money that includes one fake one dollar bill, 14 fake fives and two fake twenties.

Santana told police he thought the money was real, but then changed his story and said he was being forced to make counterfeit money to support his family after losing his job.

Police searched Santana’s 2013 Kia Optima and found two laptops and three glass pipes which contained suspected meth residue.

In the residence, police found two printers, counterfeit templates and resume paper.

Santana is charged with forgery, possession of meth and possession of drug related objects. 

"The days that we see on TV where the mobsters have the printing  press in the backroom and they have all types of plates and everything else, we are not seeing that these days," said Capt. Mark Camp of the Cartersville Police Department. "What we are seeing on local levels are the people that are trying to make counterfeit money using color printers and color copiers."

The department issued some tips for spotting counterfeit money:

1.  Look at your money.  One of the easiest things to detect is the type of paper the money is printed on.  United States currency contains tiny red and blue fibers on the main area of the bill.  The fibers are actually embedded in the paper itself.  Counterfeiters often try to print red and blue lines on counterfeit bills.  The quality of paper is often poor on counterfeit bills.  Check a suspected counterfeit bill against a real one.

2.  Look at the Treasury Seal on the bill.  Older bills may have a red seal whereas new bills have a green seal.  If the seal is any other color it is counterfeit (except for a blue seal on the Silver Certificate bill – not currently printed).  On an authentic bill the seal will have distinct saw tooth points around it.  On counterfeit bills the points may be blurred or not there at all.

3.  Look at the portrait on the bill. The picture is rendered in sharp clear lines on an authentic bill.  On a counterfeit bill the lines may appear to run together.

4.  Look at the serial number on the bill.  Authentic bills have eight numbers with prefix letters. On counterfeit bills the serial number may appear to be ragged and uneven.

5.  Be aware of “raised” counterfeit bills.  These are bills that have a part of a high denomination bill placed over part of a smaller denomination bill, thus making the bill appear to be a higher denomination than what it is.

6.  Special counterfeit detector pens are available at many office supply stores.  Use the pen to make a small mark on the bill.  If the color of the mark is black, the bill is counterfeit.

What should you do if you detect or suspect that you are in the possession of counterfeit money?  Chief Culpepper stated, “If you receive a counterfeit bill, do not give the bill back to the person who gave it to you.  Call the police immediately.  We want to get the counterfeit money out of circulation and try to find out the source as quickly as possible.”

The U.S. Secret Service has a web page devoted to detecting counterfeit money.  The web site address is