Midland Businesses Being Inundated With Counterfeit Cash

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--Phony cash is floating around the basin more and more. The counterfeit game is going on all over the Tall City, but businesses aren't the only ones losing out.

A food server at a Midland restaurant called NewsWest 9 and said, a few days ago, she had been paid and tipped with fake cash.  It wasn't until after talking to police that we found out, this crime can start a domino effect and claim several victims at the same time.

"I actually passed the money to a friend of mine.  They went to use it at the store.  When they checked the money, it came back that it was fake," the server, we'll call Blanca, said.

Blanca works hard for her money.  Little did she know, one of her customers paid her with counterfeit cash.

"I worked Sunday night and I work Saturday night.  Throughout the night, we get cash and we make change, so we don't really sit there and verify the money.  So, it could have been either one of those nights," Blanca recalled.

Sgt. Alfredo Grimaldo with Midland Police says dinner time at a restaurant is the most popular time for these bandits to try and get away with the crime, "Lighting is a little lower than optimal conditions for seeing this money.  And in a hurry, if the person walks out and leaves the money between his meal ticket, often times, the waiter will not notice until later that evening."

Food servers know all too well, you have to make the tips to survive.   Blanca's employer understood the situation and made good on the phoney one.

According to Sgt. Grimaldo, not everyone is as lucky as Blanca, "If that person does not get caught at that time, they don't know who passed that bill.  That person will have to eat that loss."

There are several ways to spot a bogus bill.  Look for the water marks and other security features, also check the serial numbers, if you have more than one of the same bill.

The scary thing is anyone can be carrying this phoney money around and not even know it.

"They could be receiving it as change by another person or an acquaintance of theirs and they won't even take a look at the money, thinking it's going to be legitimate," Sgt. Grimaldo explained.

It may have only been $40.00 and she did get it back.  Even so, Blanca says she's going to be a little more careful the next time she cashes out a customer, "Now, I'm going take that time to make sure that I check my money so that I'm not put in a position like this again."

She also wants who ever is passing it around to stop.

"If I hadn't been reimbursed, I would have been out that money and that's not fair because I worked for it," Blanca added.

Police recommend that everyone, not just businesses and food servers, familiarize themselves with the security features and check your money closely.  The special markers can be bought at any office supply store.