Palm Springs, CA
Over the last few months, there have been a handful of reports, involving fake money with “Motion Picture Purposes” printed on it, to purchase items in stores, as well as property sold by private citizens.
In the most recent instance, on August 23rd, 29 year-old Justin Weeks of Desert Hot Springs was arrested, after using a fake $100.00, “Motion Picture Purposes” bill at a local liquor store, to purchase $30.00 in lottery tickets and received $70.00 in change. The clerk recognized the fake money, got the lottery tickets and $70.00 back, and called police. PSPD officers later found Weeks driving a vehicle he purchased using $2,000.00 worth of the “prop currency.” An electric Gotrax scooter was also found inside and believed to be stolen. Weeks was in possession of $31,670 in the fake currency at the time of his arrest and charged with 496 PC and 476 PC.
During questioning by PSPD, Weeks admitted to purchasing the “prop money” on websites such as propmoney.com, where you can buy 100 bills of $100 denominations ($10,000 total), for $24.99. Upon first look, the money looks very real, so PSPD is asking you to inspect any cash you handle very carefully.
Here are 5 tips from PSPD to identify fake “Prop Money”:
- Be sure to check the bottom right-hand corner of any bill of $5 or more for color-shifting ink. If it’s authentic, the number shifts from green to black or from gold to green, when tilted.
- Check the watermark. It should only be visible when you hold the bill up to the light. If there is no watermark, or if it’s visible without being held up to the light, it’s most likely counterfeit.
- Take a close look for any blurry borders, printing, or text on the bill. If you can’t read the microprinting under a magnifying glass, it’s most likely counterfeit.
- Inspect the texture of the bill for raised printing, which is hard for counterfeiters to duplicate.
- Look for tiny red and blue threads woven into the fabric of the bill. If they appear only on the surface level, the bill is likely fake.
If you believe you have been a victim of this money scam, you can contact PSPD Investigations at (760) 323-8121 OR share any anonymous tips, by calling Crime Stoppers at (760) 347-7867. In addition, if you have proof this scooter belongs to you, you can contact Lt. Erik Larson at (760) 323-8121.