Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hey, sports fans, it's raining phony 100s in Super Bowl City!


Plus: "Mullah John Smith" update

No, this isn't the alert for the current wave of phony $100 bills flooding Super Bowl City. Still, I think it conveys the general spirit of the current excitement in the Big Apple.

by Ken

Here in the Big Apple some of us are in the grip of Super Bowl XLVIII Mania. Or I should probably say "here in the Greater NY-NJ Metropolitan Area," since the NJ folk are touchy about being preempted by the Big Apple, what with the game being played in their state -- in East Rutherford's MetLife Stadium, the home of the, er, New York Giants and New York Jets.

Then again, some of us aren't. In the grip of Super Bowl XLVIII Mania, I mean. For some of us it's just a pointless pain, requiring us to keep track of where we can't go until the whole thing blows over.

There's talk of an economic windfall, but I for one don't expect to see any of it. And some contrarian types have been pointing out that any economic activity flying into the area is likely to be more than offset by the economic activity being driven out by the plague festivities.

While much of the talk of the town these days concerns whether and when the temperature will peek above the freezing mark. (The weather folk are optimistic for Super Sunday, but not by much and not much before.) Now it appears that there's evidence of one unquestioned economic inflow into Super Bowl City: of fake money.

(Of course, for some of us, daily routines aren't impinged on in any way by any degree of panic about the legitimacy of those 100s. The closest I've gotten to one in living memory is the image at the top of this post.)

Millions of Dollars in Phony $100 Bills Flooding the Big Apple

By Murray Weiss on January 30, 2014

NEW YORK CITY -- It’s all about the Benjamins.

An international counterfeiting ring has been pumping millions of dollars in phony $100 bills into New York and other cities in the metropolitan area over the past several years, forcing the Secret Service to step up its operation to shut it down, sources told "On The Inside."

Federal officials are tracking the mules who smuggle bogus bills into the country and distributing an alert to New York businesses, banks and security industry personnel that teaches how to detect the fake C-notes, a copy of which DNAinfo New York obtained.

The counterfeit cash appears to have been manufactured on offset printing machines using plates and ink, rather than on more sophisticated copiers, according to Michael Seremetis, the assistant special agent in charge of the New York Secret Service office.

The loot is produced in bulk and bundled into packages that are smuggled in luggage or carried on planes by couriers who get about 40 cents on the dollar to put the fakes into circulation.

"The network is similar to that of the narcotics trade," Seremetis explained. "It is distributed via a sophisticated network that involves several mules who do the passing of the notes here in the tri-state area."

The Secret Service warning says the bills contain a set of five different serial numbers and have two black 7s above the last zero on the lower right-hand corner, above the "100" mark on the back of the bill.

Although the Super Bowl game is taking place in the New York City area, officials are downplaying any connection between those festivities and the timing of their warning -- and insist counterfeiters are not using the big game as a convenient time to pass off their funny money.

The counterfeit cash frequently turns up in clubs, bars and casinos, officials said. Department stores over holiday periods are typical targets.

If you have a phony $100 that is confiscated, you will lose the value of the money but can declare a tax loss at the end of the year, officials said.

"We are asking the public to let us know if they encounter these bills," Seremetis said.

Officials asked anyone with information to call the Secret Service's New Haven office at (203) 865-2449, or the NYPD at 1-800-577-TIPS.  All calls will be kept confidential.


In my post yesterday ("Confidential to Dilbert's CEO: If anybody makes a fuss about your drones-to-terrorists deal, just say, 'Who could have known?'") I suggested some possible emotional supports for those in the throes of varying stages of existential anxiety: a dose of Dilbert for those in merely up to their ankles; the latest Chris Hedges announcement-of-doom post ("The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies") for those in up to their necks or higher. With matters of such high urgency at issue, I fear that I gave unacceptably short shrift to a character who made an appearance -- or at any rate scored an allusion -- in one of the Dilbert strips. I'd like to rectify that now.

DILBERT -- Tuesday (click to enlarge)


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