Albany-- A 16-year-old boy is charged with 60 counts of counterfeiting, and investigators believe he's supplied the fake money to others in South Georgia.
With a home computer, scanner and inkjet printer, the teen turned out hundreds of $50 and $100 bills.
What he's accused of doing is becoming more common - a counterfeit cottage industry. Counterfeiting is certainly nothing new. But in the past, "You had to have some sophisticated equipment, a large printing shop, you had to have skill to operate it," says U. S. Secret Service Agent Stan Burruss.
Not anymore. "Now, anybody who has access to a color copier and a home computer with a color printer can, you know, do a fair job of counterfeiting," says Burruss.
That's apparently how this Albany teen was spending his summer.
"He was doing this while his mom was at work during the day, so literally, out of school and making some money," says Albany Dougherty Drug Unit Commander Maj. Bill Berry.
When the Secret Service and Albany Dougherty Drug Agents raided his home on West Mercer Avenue, "We found an extremely large amount of counterfeit $100 bills and $50 bills, approximately$8,000 worth," says Berry.
And he was apparently pretty good at it. "This is not first time beginner's luck. This is obviously someone who's had some expertise in matching these bills up and reproducing them," Berry said.
Now, the bills are showing up around South Georgia. "They were obviously swapping them out either in fast food drive -through windows, drug related transactions and all," Berry said.
So investigators are warning store clerks and merchants to pay attention. "We want everybody to be real careful and watch for the large denomination bills, and any of them," says Berry.
And if you suspect you've been passed a bogus bill, compare it to another. "If you put a good note beside one of these, this may look good just looking at it here, but if you lay a genuine $100 bill beside it, then you'll see the difference," said Burruss.
It's a difference that can possibly save you some real money. Berry says, "A lot of times the clerk ends up having to reimburse the company for taking or accepting the bills."
Bills that are pretty realistic looking, but not worth the paper they're printed on.
The boy's name is not being released because of his age. Investigators believe he supplied the bogus bills that were found in Thomasville earlier this week.