In a post made about recent arrests, the VPSO announced the arrest of Craig Michael Scott, of Leesville. Scott attempted to use counterfeit money at a local restaurant.

Scott was charged with monetary instrument abuse and is being held in the VPSO jail on a $5000 bond.

This arrest has prompted the VPSO to advise citizens to be on the lookout for counterfeit money. “Residents should take the time to look and feel any paper currency they receive as change. Look at the front and back of the money in the presence of the person giving them the bills, said VPSO Detective Rhonda Jordan.

“Counterfeit money will feel differently to the touch as it is normally made with common paper instead of the official US currency paper which is of course not available to the public,” Jordan said.

Jordan emphasized that citizens should examine and report suspicious bills as soon as possible. “It's important to examine the bills immediately upon receipt and if a bill seems suspicious point it out and ask for a different bill immediately. If a person leaves a place of business prior to checking their change and later discover a suspicious bill then they will more than likely be referred to law enforcement to file a report and it would be very difficult in that situation to identify the person who originally presented the counterfeit money to the business.” Jordan said.

The VPSO has been made aware of counterfeit money appearing in neighboring parishes and wants residents to be aware.

Businesses or individuals who would like to check bills for authenticity can purchase a counterfeit detection pen. Detection pens can be purchased in many stores and online. The pens require no training to be used.

To check a bill, simply mark on the bill with the pen. If the bill is indeed counterfeit a dark brown or black mark will appear on the bill.

The reason that the mark will appear on a counterfeit bill is that the pen has an iodine solution that reacts to wood-based paper, thus making the dark mark. Many counterfeit bills are made of wood-based paper.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, real U.S. currency is made of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton, with small blue and red security fibers throughout the bill.

The Secret Service has listed information on their website for tips on how to make sure money that citizens receive is legitimate.

It includes an infographic with complete information about all the markings and individual differences that make a bill legitimate. To see the “Know your Money” infographic log on to www.secretservice.gov

Monetary instrument abuse is a serious crime and in Louisiana, violators can receive a maximum 10-year prison sentence if they are convicted.