At a quick glance, the counterfeit bill looks legitimate, according to an Olathe restaurant owner who is a victim of doctored bills.
Todd Johnson, the owner of Strip’s Chicken and a former bank executive, said the $50 fake bill paid at the business on Saturday was “one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
The bill was the second fake to be accepted at the restaurant off East Santa Fe. Last week, a fake $20 bill was accepted.
The bills were sent to the Secret Service for analysis, Johnson said.
The Olathe Police Department and Johnson County Sheriff’s Office could not be immediately reached Tuesday night for comment.
Johnson put out a warning on Facebook with a photo of the counterfeit to help other businesses and even consumers selling personal items to spot the inconsistencies.
“Just glancing at it, you’re not going to notice it as easily,” he said.
The counterfeits were printed on $5 bills that had been bleached, Johnson said, making them immune from discoloration when marked with an iodine-based pen — a common method of defense to counterfeits.
Though Johnson never saw the $20 bill before the Secret Service seized it, he said the $50 bill, at first glance, looked slightly too wet, as if it had been printed recently. The lettering was also slightly sloppy.
An expert eye could notice that the watermark was actually that of a $5 bill.
Perhaps the best indicator, Johnson said, was that the “50” in the lower righthand corner had been drawn in with gold marker. The thickness of the ink could be spotted with a trained eye.
In response to Johnson’s Facebook post on his business page, he said he received a message that similar counterfeit bills had been spotted in Raytown.
The Secret Service offers a guide to recognizing counterfeit bills that includes tips on watermarks, color-shifting ink and a vertical security thread.
While many thanked Johnson for spreading the word on Facebook about spotting fake bills — and passed tips amongst themselves — at least one person responded with humor at the incident:
“The food there is soooooo good that people are making fake money just to eat it,” wrote Josh Hardin. “Sorry to see that people are robbing you. I hope you catch them.”