Police in Alberta have seen an increase in counterfeit money in recent weeks and said Friday three people have been charged in Edmonton.
The Edmonton police investigation began last month. On Saturday, Oct. 15, police in the west end received a complaint regarding counterfeit Canadian currency and ended up finding several $100 bills with the same serial number.
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Four days later, police searched a property near Winterburn Road and West View Boulevard and arrested two people. During the search, officers found several documents containing identification, a debit and a credit card reader, an ID maker and counterfeit cash.
A second search warrant was executed near 154 Street and 84 Avenue, where a third person was arrested. At that location, police seized scanners, printers, fake money and other supplies relating to counterfeiting.
“We believe there are still numerous counterfeit bills in circulation in the Edmonton area,” EPS west division Acting Staff Sgt. Scott Abbott said. “If anyone comes across some suspicious money, they are asked to contact police.”
James Richards White, 31, was charged with possessing counterfeit money, four counts of uttering counterfeit money, four counts of fraud and possessing identity documents.
Amy Alana Actmishuk, 32, was charged with possessing counterfeit money, breach of firearms prohibition, possessing a prohibited weapon, making counterfeit money, having instruments for counterfeit and two counts of breach of probation.
Travis Kale Dergousoff, 28, was charged with making counterfeit money, two counts of uttering counterfeit money, having instruments for counterfeit and possessing a prohibited weapon.
Police said they continue to investigate and more charges are pending.
Not just Edmonton
RCMP have also encountered fake cash during investigations in recent weeks.
On Tuesday in central Alberta, Rocky Mountain House RCMP seized a “significant amount” of counterfeit Canadian currency during a traffic stop and arrested the people in the vehicle. Police did not say how much was seized.
A search warrant was executed at the suspects’ home in Rocky Mountain House, where computers, scanners, printers and additional counterfeit money were seized.
Police charged a 34-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman with possession of counterfeit currency, making counterfeit currency, possession of tools/items for making counterfeit currency, possession of methamphetamine and possession of cocaine.
Police said they were not releasing the suspects’ names pending further investigation. The man and woman were released from custody with strict conditions and are scheduled to appear in Rocky Mountain House Provincial Court on Jan. 11, 2017.
Meanwhile St. Albert RCMP said since Nov. 9, they have received six reports of counterfeit currency being circulated to various businesses: five of the bills were $100 notes and the sixth was a $20 bill.
Whitecourt RCMP have also seen an increase in fake cash, especially $100 bills. Since Aug. 1, they have have received 15 reports of counterfeit money being passed off as genuine.
A number of other detachments have reported similar instances in recent months.
How to tell if cash is real or fake
The Bank of Canada began releasing new polymer notes in 2011, in part to counter the counterfeiters. They contain security features such as a holographic stripe, watermark portrait, raised print, iridescent maple leaves and hidden numbers.
The bank said in 2012, counterfeiting rates dropped by 14 per cent compared with 2011 and by 92 per cent when compared with the peak levels reached in 2004.
The Bank offers free training materials to help the public, businesses and police agencies identify the security features in genuine notes.