Scene: Second Day of Xmas, Two Turtle Doves / First Day of Kwanza / Boxing Day.
In Northglenn (north of Denver). In the checkout line at JoAnn Fabric & Crafts.
Two women in line in front of us both with eclectic items among their purchases.
W1 was arranging giant pink Lillies, oversized black peonies, and feathers into a bouquet that begged to be in a stage version of Jules’ apartment in St Elmo’s Fire (1985). She also had a cart full of stuff including some small appliances like a Cricut accessory. She told me she sells the flower arrangements and gives them as gifts. I told her those giant flowers were scaled for a huge vase like the kind in a hotel lobby.
W2 seemed to have followed suit and had both fabric and flowers, too. She didn’t have a cart full of stuff, though.
Both women had cuts of fabric, but they had no idea what they bought or how much it was going to be. They had fancy stuff (fur, sparkles, silk) and thought it would be $12.
There were two cashiers working at the time, so W1 and W2 went up to pay at the same time.
W1 didn’t want to pay what the fabric cost, so she had them put it back. W2 followed suit. (I didn’t even know you could put back cuts of fabric. And JoAnn fabric cutters could do a touch better by “reading” the math out loud: “12.99/yd, 3yds, $39” before they cut.) [As they were putting her sparkly fabric behind the counter, I thought of a future project for myself!]
Cashier 1 holds two bills up in the light and said something quietly to W1. W1 wasted no time taking her ass to the car. W2 was just bewildered and said, “Well, is she coming back?” W2 then abandoned her purchases and went outside to find her friend.
As the cashiers were putting all the stuff behind the counter, C1 motioned for us to come up there. I said, “Thanks. We didn’t want to interrupt the drama.” She then explained that there were two $50 bills without watermarks.
Federal Criminal Charges for Counterfeit Money
It’s a federal crime to make, use, or possess counterfeit U.S. currency with the intent to defraud. A person charged with counterfeiting U.S. currency can face stiff felony penalties.
In order to convict a defendant of counterfeiting, the prosecutor must prove that:
- the counterfeit currency looked legitimate enough to deceive an ordinary, unsuspecting person, and
- the defendant used, made, or possessed the counterfeit current with the intent to defraud another (criminal intent).
The prosecutor must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
(18 U.S.C. §§ 471, 472 (2022).)https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/can-i-be-charged-with-using-counterfeit-money-if-i-di
So, W1 tried to use them as currency. She thought they were good fakes, and she tried to commit fraud with them.
As we paid, C2 (and maybe a manager?) was calling the cops and describing the white sedan the women left in.
I have so many questions.
- Where do you get counterfeit money? And is ever truly given out by accident?
- Does this mean someone from the Denver Mint is putting out fakes? Do cities with Mints have a higher rate of counterfeit bills?
- If you “had” to pass off two $50 counterfeit bills, how would you do it?
I don’t know how I would, but I’m pretty darn sure I wouldn’t try it at a national chain where they actually train their cashiers and have plenty of security cameras. I’d want to pass them off to a bigoted rethugnican, but I don’t want anything they have.