REAL DEAL: Money that was thought to be counterfeit has turned out to be real.
REAL DEAL: Money that was thought to be counterfeit has turned out to be real.

Man arrested with $7000 of funny money in Evans Head

A QUICK thinking credit union teller who spotted ink running on some bank notes has helped police arrest a man who had $8700 in counterfeit $100 notes, some of which were passed at Evans Head's Illawong Hotel.

Illawong Hotel publican Daniel Simpson said a regular patron passed $1700 of the counterfeit $100 notes at the hotel last Saturday.

Mr Simpson, who did not work at the hotel until Tuesday, said he was alerted to the counterfeit notes by staff on Monday.

Funny money identified

"The staff took the banking across to the Summerland Credit Union on Monday, when they were counting the notes, the teller dipped her finger on the wet sponge they have to help them flick through the notes," he said.

"As she started flicking though the hundreds she noticed the ink coming off on her finger.

"That's what alerted us that there was something not right.

"Their appearance was very very good; they had all of the hallmarks that a genuine note would have, they just felt a little bit gritty, a little bit rough, than what a normal note would be.

"When we wet them and rubbed them in certain places the ink ran."

Regular pub goer caught

When Mr Simpson returned to work on Tuesday he reviewed CCTV footage and quickly identified who he thought had passed the notes.

"Being a regular was part of his problem and why he was arrested so quickly because we were able to identify him and basically tell the police who he was and where he lived," he said.

"Once we were aware they were counterfeit notes, we called the police.

"Detectives from Ballina came down and viewed the CCTV footage with us on Tuesday and they went straight to his house and he was subsequently arrested and charged."

Ballina police Inspector Bill McKenna said when police arrested a 72-year-old man at his home at Evans Head, detectives allegedly found $7000 in counterfeit $100 notes.

"The notes may be accepted by some note taking machines," Insp McKenna said.

Charges laid

He said the man was charged with utter counterfeit currency and possessing prohibited currency.

The man was granted conditional bail to appear at Ballina Local Court on November 26

Mr Simpson said he had seen the odd counterfeit $50 note passed at Woodburn's Rod and Reel Hotel over the year, but not at the Illawong Hotel and nothing as significant as $1700 worth of counterfeits.

"People just need to be diligent when they're handling money, especially $100 notes

"They should check if they do have all the hallmarks of a genuine note."

Insp McKenna also told the ABC they have arrested a 26 year old Ballina local male in relation to the matter.

How to identify counterfeit currency

  • The banknote should be printed on polymer (plastic) and the clear window should be part of the banknote, not an addition.
  • Look for the Coat of Arms and the Federation Star when the banknote is held up to the light.
  • A 'scrunch' test will also distinguish polymer notes - which will flatten automatically - and counterfeit paper notes which often won't.
  • Real currency won't tear easily, while fake currency often does.

What to do

  • Anyone who comes into contact with suspicious notes is asked to handle the note as little as possible and store it in an envelope.
  • They are asked to note down any identifying features such as personal descriptions and vehicles used by them, and promptly notify police.
  • You are well within your rights to refuse to accept a banknote if you have concerns about it.

For more information about security features and what to do with counterfeit banknotes visit the Reserve Bank of Australia's website

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