25-year-old Daniel Marquez of Plainview was arrested Monday, on accusations of passing counterfeit money. Federal Secret Service agents are working around the clock to find at least three other suspects and the person printing the money.
|Recognizing Counterfeit Money|
More than $5,000 in counterfeit money has been passed in Plainview in the last two weeks in $20 bills, $50's and $100's. And according to the Secret Service, that's a huge increase, they say on average, they may pick up one bill a week in Plainview. "That's a huge increase on what we've been seeing in Plainview in the past," said Secret Service Agent Steve Barker.
Agent Barker says clerks assisted in identifying their first suspect, Daniel Marquez, but he's not the only one they are looking for. "It's still an ongoing investigation. Our goal is to identify the printer in Plainview and put a stop to his printing."
In the meantime employees at businesses across Plainview are on alert, more than 50 have been hit so far, from convenience stores, to fast food stops, to department stores, to bars. "We're marking the bills, every big bill we get we mark it to make sure it's not counterfeit," said Sara Sanders a Bartender at Crossroads.
Sara Sanders a Bartender at Crossroads is one of the victims. "I didn't notice it that night but the next day when everything came out they said the way they were passing it was to wad it up. And I thought 'Oh my gosh, that night before a guy gave me a wrinkled $100 bill and I'd never seen him in here before and he was tipping us pretty well. So at that point I knew it was counterfeit," Sanders said.
"To look at it it's hard to tell the difference, its the feel of it that's different." Plainview Police Captain Michael Carroll says they've been spreading the word for people to be on the look out for this phony money. "The counterfeit money in this case is of very poor quality. It doesn't have any of the security features of genuine money," says Agent Barker.
Barker says bank employees can usually tell the difference in fake money just by the feel of it, but anyone who handles money should be aware of what to look for.
Daniel Marquez will be arraigned in Lubbock Federal Court on Wednesday, if convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison, per bill passed. The person printing the money faces the same time.
If you have any information on who is making or spreading counterfeit money, you are encouraged to call the Secret Service, that number is (806) 472-7347. They do offer rewards for information that leads to an arrest.