(Memphis) The Secret Service is on the case after two men were busted for trying to pass funny money.
Memphis police say the duo had about $20,000 in fake 100 dollar bills.
The guys tried to transfer the fake money at Western Union, but the cashier became suspicious, and after looking at the counterfeit bills, it’s not hard to see why.
“It’s horrible quality. Its terrible quality,” said Special Agent in Charge for the Secret Service in Memphis, Rick Harlow.
Harlow showed WREG just some of the fake cash that police say Dave Faulkner kept locked up in a suitcase in a North Memphis house on Claybrook.
Altogether, police counted 180 fake $100 bills.
Police say their sham was up when Faulkner's friend, Jerome Flethcher, tried to transfer $1,900 of counterfeit cash through the Western Union on Poplar.
The clerk took out her counterfeit detector pen, marked the bills, and the ink turned black. It let her know the bills were fake.
“The counterfeit pen is a litmus test. Its tests the pH of the bill. Genuine currency is printed on cotton and linen. It’s not paper.”
After the ink test, police were called and now the Secret Service is investigating who printed the shoddy fake money.
“With the advent of desktop publishing, it’s relatively common.”
Harlow says fake Benjamin’s have telltale signs.
Harlow showed us a legit hundred.
“There is color changing ink, the liberty bell that changes inside the ink well and this blue strip has a liberty bell or ink well depending on how you look at it.”
Also, the fake bill has no raised ink, which the new hundreds printed in November have, “If put your fingernail across the shoulder, there you can actually feel the printing.”
Harlow says the counterfeit problem isn't so bad in West Tennessee but any time they come across it, special agents make sure they get to the source.
Fake bills are bad for the economy and tough on small businesses just trying to make a buck.
If convicted, the two men could spend up to 15 years in prison.
For now, Fletcher has been released on his own recognizance and Faulkner is being held on a $6,000 bond, which he'll have to pay in real money.