Bogus bills at Schenectady bar

November 17, 2017 11:34 PM

SCHENECTADY - When the lights are on, and the barstools are full, and the drinks are pouring at the Horses Lounge in Schenectady, it's all good. Unfortunately, the same thing can't be said about the money that's flowing into the cash drawer.

Owner Christian Fritzen says counterfeit money has been crossing the bar lately, funny money that he certainly is not laughing about.

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"Just in the past week, one of my bartenders had a fifty dollar bill that she struck with our pen and it was not a real bill," Fritzen says, "She gave it back to the customer and took a different form of payment.'

That counterfeit fifty, Fritzen says, was only the beginning of a bad run of bad money.

"My bartender, she does a weekly deposit in tips and I received notice yesterday for when she went for the deposit that three of her twenties were counterfeit," Fritzen states.

And then on Friday, a tainted ten turned up in the til, discovered too late, but now with a fluorescent detecting pen, Fritzen hopes he'll be able to find future forgeries, mindful that his staff probably won't be able to check every single bill.

"It's not practical," he says, "but I can't afford to be out hundreds of dollars in a week."

And so Fritzen says he's instructed his staff to be vigilant and to remember not everyone who passes counterfeit currency realizes the bills are bogus.

"I don't want to cause any type of conflict in the bar," he says, "Somebody could be totally innocent that just cashed a paycheck and then we're taking a fifty dollar bill from them."

One of the tactics some counterfeiters like to use is bleaching the ink off low-denomination bills, then superimposing larger denominations on it. Anti-counterfeit pens wouldn't detect the forgery because the bill is still printed on cotton-linen paper. That's why you'd also want to have the fluorescent light scanner.

If bad money is detected, experts say counterfeiters will often ask to have it returned to them. If the suspected crook becomes threatening, it's a good idea to comply.

Merchants also have an obligation to keep the counterfeit bills and not pass them along to unsuspecting customers.





Dan Levy

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