CHICAGO– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Chicago’s International Mail Facility (IMF) have been counting a lot of money, counterfeit money, in different denominations that have been seized from parcels coming into the U.S. In the past three months, officers have seized more than 100 shipments of counterfeit currency totaling more than $1.64 million.
Daily officers at the IMF inspect packages arriving from various locations, and while some of these are stateside addresses, 20% of all international mail is funneled through the IMF at O’Hare. From Jan 1 to March 31, officers seized 80 shipments of counterfeit currency, 24 shipments containing fake silver dollars and five shipments containing counterfeit foreign currency.
The currency is broken down in different denominations of $20, $50, and $100 bills. Criminals often use concealment methods to avoid detection, but CBP officers use knowledge, experience, and technology to detect these items, and seize them before they reach their destination. In the past two weeks CBP officers have made 31 counterfeit currency seizures totaling over $423,000 The counterfeit currency is seized under Counterfeit U.S. Currency, Coins or Government Securities.
CBP officers aren’t only seeing counterfeit dollar bills. At the end of February, CBP officers seized 24 shipments containing fake silver dollars, a collectible item among many enthusiasts. Additionally, during these three months CBP seized over $95,000 Euros, equal to over $112,000. Except for a few of the shipment, all these items were arriving from China destined for places all over the U.S., to include some cities within Illinois
“Today, criminals have relatively easy access to the technology, equipment and know-how required for counterfeiting. It is a lucrative business which is often used to finance illegal activities such as trafficking in human beings and drugs, and even terrorism.” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago. “Criminal groups continuously target our citizens, businesses and the security of the United States financial structure hoping to make a quick buck and damage our economic system. Our officers are there to stop that threat to our nation.”
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. Counterfeiting Federal Reserve notes is a federal crime. Visit the United States Secret Service’s website for detailed information. Both consumers and retailers can protect themselves from inadvertently receiving counterfeit currency by quickly glancing at the note.
CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.