Counterfeit Money Surfaces in Letcher County

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

There are more than 50 reports of counterfeit money in Letcher County and officials say the rush of the holidays makes the funny money hard to detect. Now dozens of people are caught in the middle of the scam.

Sheriff Danny Webb says most of the bills passed hands a few times before they they were discovered, leaving innocent people out of cash.

Sheriff Webb says the counterfeit money is easy to pass by. "You have a lot of people shopping and everything's fast and faster, and I think that's the reason they try it this time of year because you've got the volume of traffic at the stores."

He says he linked some of the money to drug dealers. "They're making it, and they're spending it to buy their drugs with from a drug dealer. Then the drug dealer spreads it out into the community."

"When you're really not aware of it, you really don't look at it, because you don't expect to be getting counterfeit bills back," says Hettie Adams, who found herself the victim of the scam.

Hettie Adams says the bank caught her counterfeit money. Now she makes them check every bill and even changed the way she shops. "I try not to use cash anymore, I write checks or use credit cards, so I don't get no more, I hope."

The sheriff says finding the counterfeit money is beginning to slow down, but just this Tuesday morning, one local business owner found a counterfeit 20 in his register.

Cashiers at Food City in Whitesburg found some fake money, too, including one man's 50 dollar bill.

"She marked it, and it was counterfeit, and he had two more, actually he had four. Out of the 4, three were counterfeit," says Wilma Sexton, the manager of the Whitesburg Food City.

Sexton says cashiers now check every bill that comes through the line. Sheriff Webb says people need to keep an eye on their own money and says the best way to know if your bills are real is to look for the watermark on the president's face.

Sheriff Webb says he has located the area of the county where the money is being produced and he does have suspects in the case. Right now, it is unclear how much counterfeit money is still in the area.

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