Counterfeit money class draws large showing
Local businesses came out in force as a result of a recent counterfeit currency ring hit Fallon last month.
Business leaders and employees took part in a class dedicated to spotting fake U.S. currency two weeks ago at the Old Post Office.
Fallon Police Capt. Vern Ulrich organized the class, which included U.S. Secret Service Agent Jon Rotella, a 22-year veteran who taught attendees what to look for in fake bills. Rotella was a great find, Ulrich said, as the special agent in charge of the Reno office was reassigned to another office the following week.
Ulrich said about 44 people from businesses throughout Churchill County took part in the session, which lasted about two-and-a-half hours.
“The class was very well attended,” Ulrich said. “There were good questions … asking questions in reference to what they can look for.”
Although the class was a success, Ulrich said another one will not take place for at least six months, perhaps one year. The reason, he said, is there are not enough counterfeiters targeting Fallon in addition to finding another government agent or specialist to conduct a class.
Regardless, Ulrich said the local participants were taught what to look for in fake bills, which is a lengthy list.
Watermarks, security strips, color shifting ink, microprinting, holograms and dozens of other features are embedded in each bill. Each denomination, however, has different security measures to distinguish itself from the other.
One big piece of information provided to the class was about a marker used to verify if a bill is legitimate. Ulrich said the marker only reads if the paper is real, not the ink and security features.
In addition, the victim of a counterfeit bill, Ulrich said, will not be reimbursed for the loss money unless a court establishes restitution during sentencing.
Rotella, meanwhile, also brought seized currency so the class to view the fake bills up close.
“He was able to share that with them,” Ulrich said. “They had actual samples they could hold … that have been used here in Northern Nevada.”
Jamie Keen, head cashier/feed buyer at Kent’s Supply, said the class was very informative.
She said the attendees learned about different ways bills are counterfeit from photo coping to washing lower denominations and printing those bills with higher notes.
“We have a lot of cash that runs through here, so we thought it would be good to see how do we know if we ever got one,” Keen said. “We thought it would be good to see how to tell the difference.”
For example, Keen said, Rotella discussed how counterfeiters will wash $1 and $5 bills and turn those into $100 and $50 notes. One problem, however, is the way the presidents are facing, which don’t match with $1 and $100 and $5 and $50 bills.
As for the new $100 bills released in October 2013, Keen said the class was told the first counterfeit case to pop up on those notes came 10 months before.
Ulrich, though, said new copy machines will not print U.S. currency.
While a new class may be some time away, Keen said if it is offered again, businesses should participate.
“I really liked the class and there was a lot of information they provided us,” she added.
The class was spurred when two men—Christopher Shoemaker and Daniel Winters — were arrested on Jan. 27. Brian Shoemaker, brother to Christopher Shoemaker, was arrested by Reno police on Feb. 4.
Christopher Shoemaker is faces 14 felony charges, while Winters and Brian Shoemaker also face numerous charges. All three cases are still pending.
According to court records and documents, the three men used $50 and $20 bills to purchase goods and services from several Fallon shops on Jan. 27.
Christopher Shoemaker and Winters were both arrested the same day (Jan. 27) after FPD received numerous calls about the suspected fake bills.