The Canadian government recently released a master counterfeiter after he voluntarily gave them thousands of fake U.S. 20 dollar bills, bogus bucks that federal officials say are “not detectable by the naked eye.”
Canadian Frank Bourassa walked free from a Canadian court after paying a $1,500 fine and handing over his faux currency. He spent only a month and a half in jail and was thrilled when Canadian officials said they would not extradite him to the U.S.
A new report by ABC’s 20/20 details Bourassa’s claims that he printed up to $250 million in fake U.S. currency. He also claims to have launched the project specifically as a “screw you” to the United States.
Canadian authorities and the U.S. Secret Service–the agency responsible for chasing counterfeiters–said that they suspect that despite his claims of being the mastermind and boss of only a small group responsible for printing and distributing the fake bills, Bourassa is only a small part of a larger network.
But despite their suspicions, Canadian authorities made a deal with the forger in order to get his stash of expertly faked U.S. printing paper, his inks, and the devices he used to put in the security features in his previous work.
“It was important to get this right away, get this off the street, get this off the market,” Tasha Adams, an investigator with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Integrated Counterfeit Enforcement Team (ICET), told ABC News.
“Evidence suggests there’s more stashes of paper, more stashes of counterfeit notes out there and there’s more people involved,” Adams continued.
Canadian authorities will continue the investigation into their suspicions of a larger network.
Bourassa told authorities that U.S. bills are “the easiest of them all” to counterfeit because they are still printed on paper, not polymers.
The fraudster was felled by an undercover agent who had joined one of his bill-passing rings.
U.S. officials say that Americans should not worry, though. Very few bills in circulation are counterfeit.
According to ABC, last year U.S. law enforcement made more than 3,500 arrests of counterfeiters. “The $20 bill was the most widely passed of the fake notes,” the network said in its report.
In another large case last year, a man in Atlanta was arrested for printing up to a million dollars in fake $50 bills. It was one of the Secret Service’s biggest counterfeiting busts in some time.
According to the Secret Service, in 2013, aside from the Atlanta bust, nearly $81 million in fake money was seized and 2,424 people arrested for printing and passing those bills.
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