Counterfeit cash in Conway

Conway (KATV) - Conway Police say for around the past two months they've seen a spike in counterfeit money. The fake are bills being used at grocery stores, restaurants and garage sales, or wherever there's a high volume of people. "I'm scared I'm going to lose my house over this, I'm scared I'm actually going to go to jail over this, even though I didn't know anything about it," franticly said Stephanie Cohen, a victim of counterfeit money Cohen sold a TV and a video game console at her garage sale recently to someone who gave her 13 fake $20 bills, $260 is counterfeit money. Cohen tried to pay her rent with it but her landlord noticed the fake bills and reported them to the police. "All these bills have the same serial number," said Conway Detective Brian Williams as he's lining up the fake bills across a counter. Detective Williams said counterfeit money has circulated for roughly two months in Conway, he personally has 25 to 30 cases regarding the issue. "In a lot of these cases, (criminals) are choosing the path of least resistance," said Williams. Williams believes that the bills are being "washed", which means criminals are buying a small priced item with a big counterfeit bill to get an excessive amount of change in return. So far, the counterfeit bills have been used, or tried to be used, at McDonald's, Bear's Den, Domino's, Fu Lin, Murphy Oil gas station, the Kroger on Salem Road, and a German Town Apartments. The bills used include $20, $50, and $100s. Detective Williams pointed out the differences on the fake bills used at Cohen's garage sale with a counterfeit detector. The texture of the fake money feels heavier and appears thicker. Authentic money is made out of cotton and linen. The serial numbers on each of the fake bills are identical. The portrait of Andrew Jackson looks less detailed than an authentic bill. Conway Police believe if fake money is to be used, it's likely to be passed where a counterfeit detector is no where around, like a garage sale. "It felt the same and it looked the same and I didn't think anything of it," said Cohen. Conway Police said all the counterfeit bills used at Stephanie's garage sale will be picked up by the U.S. Secret Service, on Monday. Having a counterfeit money can lead to being charged with first degree forgery.