Fake $100 bills circulate on South End

Deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office received two reports in three days of people passing phony $100 bills on South Whidbey, but the cases don’t appear to be related.

Detective Ed Wallace with the Island County Sheriff’s Office said the first case was reported by a Discovery Place resident who was having a yard sale on Sunday, Sept. 9. The resident sold a flat-screen TV and laptop computer to a couple who paid with two fake $100 bills, according to Wallace.

A deputy contacted the suspects, 29-year-old Piper Travis and 30-year-old Jesse Dunn, at a home in Clinton. They claimed they found the faux cash at the Bayview Car Wash and didn’t know it wasn’t real.

The deputy returned the TV and computer to the owner. Travis and Dunn were arrested on suspicion of felony financial fraud, according to the detective.

Then on Sept. 11, a clerk at the Clinton Chevron reported that a customer purchased gas with a counterfeit $100. Wallace said the case is under investigation, but it wasn’t clear which customer passed the bogus bill.

According to Wallace, the serial numbers of the bills didn’t match in the two cases, so it’s not likely that they were created by the same people.

Wallace said the sheriff’s office receives reports on counterfeit money about twice a year, on average, though bogus $20 bills are most common.

“Counterfeit $100 bills are kind of uncommon because people scrutinize them,” he said.

Wallace said he urges businesses to invest in counterfeit detector pens and to check every $50 and $100 bill. While technology may have made counterfeiting seem easier, the pens can quickly identify even the best fake. In addition, modern currency is embedded with anti-counterfeit technology, including holograms, strips and even symbols that disable photo copiers.