The Secret Service bagged their biggest haul of counterfeit US currency — $30 million from Peru

❝ The product is carefully created in rural facilities throughout the Peruvian countryside using cheap labor, then hoarded in stash houses controlled by violent gangs in Lima.

Once there, the goods are packed into parcels, loaded onto planes or hidden inside luggage, pottery, hollowed-out Bibles, sneakers, children’s toys or massive shipping containers bound for major U.S. ports of entry, such as Miami.

The product’s ultimate destination, according to the U.S. Secret Service, is generally New York, New Jersey, Boston and the greater Northeast.

❝ It’s here, federal authorities say, that a few powerful organizations pass the product to splinter groups that control the streets, reaping huge financial rewards before authorities have time to react.

It’s an illicit trade that bears an uncanny resemblance to narcotrafficking, and while there is some overlap between the two activities, this “product” has nothing to do with cocaine.

❝ But the profits created by smuggling the counterfeit currency known as the “Peruvian note” — generally considered the finest fake money on the planet — are just as staggering, if not more so, according to the Secret Service. Responsible for producing and distributing an estimated 60 percent of the world’s counterfeit U.S. notes, more fake American money comes from Peru than any other country, according to the Secret Service, which has been combating the currency’s rise since 2003…

❝ Once inside the United States, the currency might be used in low-level street crime, for Craigslist purchases, or in larger schemes that target big-box retailers.

The ruse ends at the bank, noted Don Brewer, the former Secret Service agent. He said banks rely on counting machines that can immediately separate fake bills from authentic ones by analyzing magnetic ink on legitimate currency.

By that time, however, the damage — to small businesses in particular — is already done.

RTFA. Entertaining — that is, as entertaining as crime can be. The generational skills used in Peru are an interesting counterpoint to our domestic flavor of techie counterfeiter whose skills are “good enough”.

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