It’s a news item that is sure to become fodder for late-night TV comedians. Johnson City police said this week a North Carolina man they stopped for allegedly passing counterfeit money tried to eat the evidence. According to a police report, the suspect attempted to gobble down several fake bills hidden in his shoe, but officers prevented him from swallowing.
Sure, it’s humorous to think of a man trying to eat funny money, but counterfeiting is no laughing matter. U.S. Treasury officials say fake money costs our economy billions of real dollars each year. Even though new currency designs in recent years are aimed at making it more difficult to pass phony money, counterfeiting continues to be a problem.
In fact, the fake money muncher was the second person arrested and charged with counterfeiting in Johnson City this week. The U.S. Secret Service offers the following advice for Americans who believe they have been handed phony bills:
Do not return it to the passer.
Delay the passer from leaving the business if possible.
Observe the passer’s description, as well as that of any companions and the license plate numbers of any vehicles used.
If you discover a counterfeit bill, contact your local police department or a Secret Service field office immediately. You can reach the Secret Service’s office in Knoxville at 865-545-4627.