Counterfeit cash circulating in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — More local businesses are falling victims to counterfeit money on Youngstown’s West Side.

A second criminal complaint was filed Friday involving Julie’s Down the Street on Mahoning Avenue. The bank told owner Julie Brauer that a $50 bill they were depositing was counterfeit.

This is the third time in a week that either a counterfeit $50 bill or $100 bill has popped up on the West Side.

“It is money that I cannot pay my taxes with, that I cannot pay my employees with, that I cannot buy product with. It hurts,” Brauer said. “You know, you are angry, you are hurt, you are working hard trying to earn a living.”

The customer who used the fake $50 bill is a regular customer of Julie’s Down the Street.

“People come in a couple of times a week. They get food, they order a couple of drinks and you do not expect that from someone that is supposed to be your friend or an associate,” Brauer said.

It is unclear if that customer knowingly used the counterfeit money. But what is clear is that even though police arrested Anthony West, 29, earlier this week for having $3,600 of counterfeit money on him and using some of that money to buy a TV on Youngstown’s West Side, there is still some of that money on the street.

“We really do not know. It is still early. The Secret Service is assisting us in the investigation. Sadly, even though that arrest was made, we are still seeing those bills passed,” said Youngstown Police Det. Capt. Brad Blackburn.

Both Brauer and Nesbitt said they have fallen victim to counterfeit money before.

“I am thinking for the next week or so, we are not going to accept $50 or $100 bills until they get to the bottom of this,” said Shane Nesbitt, co-owner of Strikers Lounge on Mahoning Avenue.

Because the fake money continues popping up, police want businesses to be on the lookout for these bills and to make sure they take the extra time to make sure they are real before accepting them.

“We get lulled into the everyday job, no matter what that is. You know, some people take 1,000 bills a day. It is hard to really stop and pay attention. That is why we want to make them aware,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn said businesses should know that the counterfeit bills pass the marker test. However, if they are held to the light, there will be no watermark or security seal on them.

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