CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A financial crime is striking some of the busiest areas in Charlotte.
Now, NBC Charlotte is learning of new cases of fake cash. Police say one of the cases involve seven fake $100 bills being used at a store in SouthPark Mall.
NBC Charlotte obtained several police reports this week involving fake $100 bills. It’s impacting everything from local malls to a taxi driver. Now, that taxi driver is explaining how he caught the suspect in the act.
Taxi driver Brahne Gebreysus says he was owed about $33 for the ride. However, the $100 bill he received needed a closer look. He held up the bill and realized it was fake.
“I ask the customer, ‘this is fake, I don’t accept fake dollar,’” says Gebreysus. “He opened my door and he ran, I was tried to follow him... but I couldn’t.”
The very same day, a Bojangles on West Trade Street also received a fake $100 bill. Two days earlier, more counterfeit cash floated through the SouthPark Mall. A police report shows that seven $100 bills were used to buy items at SouthPark Optical. Before that, a Walgreens in Ballantyne got hit with a fake $100 bill.
“We work closely with our federal partners, the Secret Service in particular, to ensure those investigations are conducted thoroughly,” says Rob Tufano, a spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Now, NBC Charlotte is sharing ways you can be your own detective in identify fake cash. Experts say look out for blurry borders, broken Presidential portraits or no water marks. If it’s real, you should see red and blue hairs, as well as a security strip visible under UV light.
Gebreysus says he called 911 when he learned what happened.
“I gave them the fake $100,” he said.
However, he’s not counting on getting his money back. Gebreysus says although he lost some money, he’s glad he was able to identify the counterfeit bill and contact police.
NBC Charlotte checked with CMPD for more details about who can be charged. They say anyone caught using fake cash can face charges for possession of counterfeit money. However, the prosecutor would have to prove there was intent in the case.
It’s a much different story if you’re a victim who received fake cash. In that case, police say to call them immediately. Unfortunately, you won’t be reimbursed for the money.