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Crime The Almighty Buck

Press Used To Print Millions of US Banknotes Seized In Quebec 398

Posted by samzenpus
from the close-to-perfect dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian Royal Mounted Police report: An offset printing press used to manufacture counterfeit $20 banknotes was seized by the RCMP and US Secret Service. This significant seizure was made earlier today in the Trois-Rivières area. The authorities had been looking for this offset press for several years. A large quantity of paper was also seized by police, that could have been used by the counterfeiters to manufacture from $40-$200 million. The very high quality counterfeit notes were virtually undetectable to the naked eye. Some of the features they had were uncommon, including the type of paper used, which was especially made with a Jackson watermark and a dark vertical stripe imitating the security thread found in authentic notes."
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Press Used To Print Millions of US Banknotes Seized In Quebec

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 02, 2014 @07:22PM (#46136391)

    They were printed in both English and French, to avoid breaking Canadian bilingualism laws.

  • by oic0 (1864384) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @07:28PM (#46136403)
    Now if we could just stop our government from printing themselves money.
    • by flyneye (84093) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @07:49PM (#46136517) Homepage

      If you suspect you have government printed currency, you should send it to me, flyneye.
      I will inspect it for bugs, flaws and make sure it works.
      Bulk, no problem, will pay shipping fees or postage for large amounts.
      Be safe, be sure, send your money to flyneye.

      • by antdude (79039)

        You're a bug though. :P

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Now if we could just stop our government from printing themselves money.

      Why?

      When interest rates are at 0%, and the politicians can't be bother inducing demand via stimulus spending/fiscal policy, the only way left to get the economy going is monetary policy. The Japanese have had 0% interest rates for decades, and have printed money a lot as well, and they've had deflation.

      In science you pick the model which makes accurate predictions. The Austrians, gold bugs, and folks from the Chicago school of thought have been yammering on about inflation for years. The Keynesians (IS-LM f

      • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday February 03, 2014 @08:44AM (#46139575) Journal

        I don't know if being able to diagnose a disease means you know how to cure it.

        If we're all Keynesians, why aren't we all breaking windows to improve the economy? The theory is utterly stupid EVEN IN THEORY, much less in application.

        Increasing money supply doesn't magically make people want to consume, all it really does is threaten blackmail to people "stupid" enough to try to save money.

        Keynes vs Hayek rap battle:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] "Fear the Boom and Bust"
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] "Fight of the Century"

        Keynes was, like Freud, a brilliant man whose observations are seminal to our understanding of his field, but who was in many ways overwhelmingly wrong.

        I'll take Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, and ultimately Friedrich Hayek over JMK, thanks

  • by the 0x (2883849) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @07:33PM (#46136427)
    switch to australian made notes, i'd like to see them try and replicate those notes!
    • by dk20 (914954) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @07:45PM (#46136501)
      We use polymer notes here as well (Canada). Even the lowest bill ($5) is moving from paper to plastic ;)
      • The best thing about the plastic notes is that you can leave money in your pants and it doesn't turn to mush in the washing machine. That has saved me hundreds.
        • *Paper* money will survive washing machines.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            *Paper* money will survive washing machines.

            Technically US banknotes are made out of cloth more than paper.

            But the GP has a very good point about durability. Polymer banknotes last up to 4 times so the reserve bank (RBA) has to print fewer notes (one of the RBA's jobs is destroying old notes and replacing them with new ones).

    • by spasm (79260) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:08PM (#46136589) Homepage

      The Australians license the polymer process to a lot of countries (including Canada) and an offshoot of the Australian Reserve Bank actually prints polymer notes for about 30 countries directly including Mexico.

    • by mendax (114116) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:23PM (#46136633)

      switch to australian made notes, i'd like to see them try and replicate those notes!

      Yes, I've advocated the US switching to Aussie plastic ever since my first experience with it when I visited Oz in 1995. Canada is now doing it and Mexico has been using it for several years. Even the damn Romanians are using it! The polymer money has its detractors (it's slippery and doesn't fold nicely unless you put a book on the fold for a month and then you can't get the fold out) but it's pretty much damn impossible to counterfeit unless you're a government. And I suspect even the North Koreans will have trouble with it since I have no doubt the Aussies will ever license the technology to them for obvious reasons.

    • by failedlogic (627314) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:28PM (#46136655)

      Canada makes polymer bills. The first polymer bill produced was the $100 CAD. Not too long after it was released, counterfeits were reported. This is a CBC story from May 2013. Too bad, for the longest time $100 and $50 paper bills weren't accepted at retail even if legal tender for fear it was counterfeit. Hopefully this doesn't happen with the new polymer bills.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com... [theglobeandmail.com]

  • by xmark (177899) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @07:33PM (#46136431)

    Fed doesn't even bother with the paper - just pushes some buttons, and *magically* $4 billion pops out into the system *every day.*

    Except they call it Quantitative Easing instead of its actual name, counterfeiting. Cuz they're economists, you know.

    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @07:42PM (#46136477)

      Fed doesn't even bother with the paper - just pushes some buttons, and *magically* $4 billion pops out into the system *every day.*

      Nonsense!

      They only create TWO billion a day.

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @09:04PM (#46136851)
      How can the person in charge of printing money be counterfeiting money when they are authorized to print more? Though most of the easing isn't in printed money anyway, right?
    • Fed doesn't even bother with the paper - just pushes some buttons, and *magically* $4 billion pops out into the system *every day.*

      "The thing is, though.. this sum of money, that amount of money, is just some numbers on a computer. Sort of disappearing or re-appearing, or naughts going.. you know, It must be very tempting, at the point when you realize that, for someone to sneak up to you who goes "Just type it back in". There's no actual stuff. I mean, nothing's caught fire or exploded or sunk or anythi

  • by Mister Liberty (769145) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:02PM (#46136567)

    Couple of criminals bested by another lot of criminals.

    • An article like this brings out the economics nerds, and trading nerds.... with a healthy dose of conspiracy nutjobs.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Counterfeiting has always been a highly technical sport. The right paper, the right inks, the right pressures, the right initiation of countermeasures, all involve chemistry, physics, and application of whatever technologies are available.

      In addition, remember that one of the few scientifically sound principles that predates Galileo was a result of the detection of counterfeiting. The story goes that King Heron wanted to make a crown from a certain amount of pure gold, or a s pure as he could get. The

  • The majority of counterfeit bills aren't embossed. It's one of the easiest tips offs. Ink lays on top of genuine bills making them easy to feel the difference.

    • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:39PM (#46136725)

      Fancy heavy-weight offset printer, so yes. The press is what enables that difference, and this is one of those presses. Who gets to even buy these presses if quite tightly controlled. The fact that authorities spent years looking for it meant that its purchase was very carefully done and it was probably disassembled and moved after initial delivery. A difficult and expensive operation, but presumably the years it was in operation paid for it.

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        Who gets to even buy these presses if quite tightly controlled.

        Are you talking about Canada or the USA?

        To a naive person (me), it would seem that (in the USA) controlling who can buy a printing press would fall foul of the First Amendment. Tracking I can see, but controlling? It looks like the top of a very slipperly slope, since one could find an illegal use for just about any type of press.

        • by lgw (121541)

          A very special type of press is needed for a convincing fake. Good paper money is printed with an 8-color press, which are really only used to print currency and Magic cards. Dunno if the seized press used the same process, or they were just clever in some way. In any case, the secret service probably keeps track of the few presses capable of printing convincing fakes.

        • by dryeo (100693)

          The First Amendment is just a guideline, look at the various decisions of the Supreme Court over the years. If the courts took the First seriously your country or Constitution would be much different. Even having a standing army would be next impossible as the UMC is a law passed by Congress which limits soldiers rights to talk back to officers amongst other things such as national security.

      • by Artifakt (700173)

        What's spooky is, if they really only printed 40 M to 200 M in bills in that time, their start up costs probably come to a significant fraction of total profits, and if they had been caught only two or three months into the operation, they could have actually taken a loss.

    • The process is called intaglio [wikipedia.org].

  • Quebec has been trying to separate from Canada for years. This is part of their master plan to print their own currency.
  • what's wrong with the odd counterfeiter making high quality fakes, just as long as we all (not just we in the US, but everywhere that US currency is circulated) share in the mutual hallucination?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Because the game is all about who gets to have the money, not how good the money is. If counterfeiting were legal, peons could print their way to financial independence, and we can't be havin' with that. Any mechanism by which large numbers of the population can escape from debt will be carefully stamped out, no matter what it is. Counterfeit printing is only one of many victims of this policy.

    • by DaHat (247651)

      Like most of lawful killing and other acts violence, wiretapping, extortion, currency printing, and a multitude of other areas... the government has granted themselves a near monopoly on such things.

  • by mendax (114116) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:30PM (#46136667)

    When I first read this story I was amazed to read that someone was still using a printing press to print phony money. I thought only the North Koreans did that because their fakes are printed using the intaglio printing method, the same one used by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing to print American money. You're not going to get that from an offset press.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're not going to get that from an offset press.

      No, but you'd be surprised how many Americans don't know even the basic security features of their money. Indeed, if a bill looks and feels right at a first glance, few enough will question its authenticity and the counterfeiters rely upon this fact. It also doesn't help that the most common counterfeit detection method employed by small businesses, the currency marker pen, is easily defeated with the right sort of non-banknote paper and some dried hairspray. This is common knowledge now, at least online an

    • Yet nobody is going to bust the North Koreans. Defeat their military is so easy that it should be a privately funded effort. Apple or Google will have enough cash to form a private military that can annex NK within a week and turn it into a first single corporate-run nation-state.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:56PM (#46136819) Homepage Journal

    And ultimately, that is all you really need to do. Fool the guy at the store counter, which isn't all that hard.

    Once it gets back to the bank and is detected, you are long gone.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @09:06PM (#46136869) Homepage Journal

      Once it gets back to the bank and is detected, you are long gone.

      Hahahahahaha detected at the bank hahahahaha.

      People get counterfeit twenties out of ATMs all the time.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      Counterfeit money like this isn't used to buy a soda at a gas station. They produce it in bulk and it generally gets used overseas in currency exchanges, where they ultimately launder the fake stuff into real stuff.

      *then* they go buy a soda at a gas station.

      • Counterfeit money like this isn't used to buy a soda at a gas station. They produce it in bulk and it generally gets used overseas in currency exchanges, where they ultimately launder the fake stuff into real stuff.

        *then* they go buy a soda at a gas station.

        maybe this happens on a one-off basis with some extremely under the radar places, but this would be an insane method to attempt to unload any more than a hundred thousand.

        as the marginal cost for fake money is almost zero, they are likely converting into tangible goods that can be resold for clean money.

        a team could easily buy $250k worth of precious metals / high end electronics at flea markets or craigslist in a weekend in NYC

  • So someone is trying to take over le Trois-Rivières area? with a counterfeitprinterantor, eh?

    Did anyone spot an ornithorynque wearing a fedora and assisting the Mounties?

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