CHICAGO– During Fiscal Year 2020, which ran from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020, CBP officers in Chicago seized more than $10 million in ‘funny money’ that was being routed through the International Mail Facility (IMF) at Chicago O’Hare.
Officers at the IMF seized a total of 306 shipments that contained the counterfeit currency. A large amount of the seizures came during Operation Show Me the Money, an operation targeted at stopping the illegal trafficking of phony money. The currency came in many denominations with $20 and $100 bills being more prevalent. More than 280 of these packages came from China, with others coming from the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Korea. Officers even seized counterfeit foreign currency that was being mailed to residents. In total, officers seized more than $10.6 million.
Most of the currency was made of poor material, was missing required watermarks, missing imbedded fibers, had the same serial numbers, and some had Chinese letters on back of bills.
"Counterfeiting has been going on for centuries – it’s so serious the issue of counterfeiting is actually addressed in our Constitution. Every time counterfeit currency gets into the U.S. market, the U.S. currency and the people’s belief in the government becomes devalued” said Shane Campbell, Port Director-Chicago. “CBP officers play a crucial role in stopping the importation of counterfeit currency and protecting the integrity of U.S. currency.”
According to the Secret Service, special agents and investigative analysts from around the country continue to work closely with state and local law enforcement partners to minimize risks by informing the public and apprehending those responsible for passing counterfeit currency. Both consumers and retailers can protect themselves from inadvertently receiving counterfeit currency by quickly glancing at the note.