by Annika Backe
March 2, 2017 – “Operation Sunset” was the title of an operation during which the U.S. American Secret Service seized counterfeit U.S. bills worth $30 million in Lima on November 15, 2016. According to an official press release, this was the culmination of a concerted action against six criminal organizations based in Peru.
1,500 Peruvian National Police officers teamed up with the American Secret Service Agents for their Lima operation. 48 people were arrested. Several counterfeit plants were suppressed where 1,600 negatives and printing plates were stored to counterfeit varying denominations of the U.S. dollar, but also of the euro, on a large scale.
Production and distribution of the fake money
The fake money produced in Peru is of such a good quality that its mass counterfeiting – accomplished through teams of up to 12 specialized workers – yields quite a profit. Controlled by the mafia, the fake bills are brought to the U.S. by ship or airplane, hidden in children’s toys or hollowed-out bibles, for example.
Once inside the U.S., the money is laundered. The middlemen pick different stores of a retailer and buy clothes, for instance – only to return them shortly afterwards and get cash back.
The chances of authentification
Experts say that counterfeit bills from Peru make for about 60% of the fake money circulating in the United States. Often the counterfeits are only separated from authentic ones by bank which use state-of-the-art authentification equipment. Although the U.S. invests a lot of money in the development of new anti-counterfeit security features, they are only a small step ahead of the skilled counterfeiters.
And so, no matter how positive this news might sound, all parties involved know for sure: It was only possible to prevent the amount of fake money circulating from increasing by $30 million. It was not possible, though, to dry out the large-scale production of counterfeit money for good.
To read the official press release, including a link to photographic material, please click here.
The real banknotes are manufactured by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
If you want to report counterfeit money, please fill in this form.
With the long history of counterfeiting American banknotes deals a book written by Bob McCabe for which you can find a summary at CoinsWeekly.
And in the CoinsWeekly archive you will find plenty of more contributions on fake money.