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Counterfeit U.S. currency found circulating in Madawaska

MADAWASKA, Maine — Police have confirmed that two U.S. $20 bills recently brought to the station by citizens who were suspicious about the money turned out to be counterfeit.

Police Chief Ross Dubois declined to get into specifics about the ongoing investigation, but said that one bill was turned in by a local merchant and the other by a citizen who said the bill came from a local ATM. Both bills appeared within days of one another, in late September, the chief said. Dubois posted an item on the department’s Facebook page Oct. 4 alerting local residents to be aware.

Counterfeit currency popped up in Fort Kent last year, when fake $20 and $50 bills were discovered circulating. Dubois said he is unaware of any connection between the two cases.

The two bills fund circulating in Madawaska both had the same serial number AB62479861F, according to police.

The Madawaska police department has collected various counterfeit bills over the years. (Don Eno)

One way to determine that a $20 or a $50 bill is counterfeit is to hold the bill up to a light and look for a watermark line running vertically along the left side of the bill. In the case of the $20 bill, the word “twenty” can be seen printed repeatedly sideways along the bill; and in the case of a $50 bill, the word “fifty” can be seen printed in the same fashion.

There also are special pens that merchants, bank employees and police can use to determine whether bills are counterfeit. The pens leave a brown mark on counterfeit bills.

Dubois cautioned shoppers and merchants to be on the lookout for any currency that looks or feels suspicious and to contact police. It has been at least a few years since police have discovered counterfeit money circulating in Madawaska, according to the chief.

At this point, Dubois said his department is still investigating and he has not yet contacted the U.S. Secret Service, the federal law enforcement agency that handles counterfeit currency issues.

The Madawaska police have collected a variety of counterfeit currency over the years, including U.S. and Canadian bills.

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