Police warn public about surge in counterfeit money


AMHERST, Va. (WSET) -- Police are drawing attention to a recent surge in counterfeit money in the region. Twenty (20) reports have been taken in the last three weeks.

A suspect tried to pass one off at this Amherst Food Lion but failed, then successfully used it two doors down at Subway.

"She came down and asked us if a lady had given us a hundred dollar bill, and we said that she had, and she told us that it was counterfeit, so I called my manager and she called the police, said Carter Martin, a Subway employee.

Police arrested Christy Sales, 43, of Amherst, last month and charged her with possession of counterfeit money.

Two weeks later, they arrested Chayton Branham of Madison Heights during a traffic stop on a drug charge. They said they will also charge him for having two fake 100 dollar bills.

Detectives said if you can't see through the bill in the light, if the texture is different, the edges are uneven, and the watermark is faded, it could be counterfeit. A special pin is also used to detect fake bills, but some are still slipping through the cracks.

"I'm sure it's probably one person that's making this money, but it's getting passed around from person to person," said Detective Sergeant T.D. Maberry.

It means you could fall victim and inadvertently pass off a fake bill.

"Mostly what we're seeing is $100's and $20's. But know that they're out there. Just be careful," he said.

As for this Subway, they're taking extra steps to avoid fake bills.

"We don't take 100 dollar bills anymore. We're not allowed to," said Martin. "I'm happy that she got caught. It helps other people in case she was going to do it to somebody else."

For information on how to detect and report counterfeit bills, click here.

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