WEST HAZLETON — Fake money is making its way through Luzerne County. Police say they’ve had reports of a number of counterfeit $100 bills in the Hazleton area.
West Hazleton police say these fake $100 bills are hard to spot. They feel and look like real money. After the bills were used at five businesses in Hazleton and West Hazleton this month, a number of their owners are taking a stand against the counterfeit money.
As lunch hour at this Pizza Hut in West Hazleton gets going, franchise owner Bob Kennedy hopes he will get his full pay.
“It was about three weeks ago maybe, the bank had called us that we had a $100 bill, which was in our deposit, which was a counterfeit, so obviously we lose out on that $100 when we take it,” said Pizza Hut franchise owner Bob Kennedy.
Since then, Bob, his employees, and other businesses have been taking precautions when accepting large bills. Now police and the Secret Service are investigating the counterfeit $100 bills scam.
“They look like real bills. They feel like real bills. So they are very hard to detect. However, there are certain watermarks, there’s different marks within the bills that aren’t there that they can’t duplicate,” said West Hazleton Police Chief Bob Buglio.
Police say they have a few leads and believe the fake bills are coming from New York, but no arrests have been made.
Police say the counterfeit bills are coming through Hazleton and west Hazleton and it’s causing a number of businesses to no longer accept $100 bills.
Amore’s Restaurant in West Hazleton is another business that’s been hit.
“We just mark it. If it turns brown, it’s bad.”
Owner Mary Ann Hill says this pen helps them find fake bills, but some customers don’t know the bills are fake.
“Friday night, third shift, we got a bad hundred dollar bill, and the guy was shocked because somebody gave it to him,” said Amore owner Mary Ann Hill.
Bob Kennedy over at Pizza Hut says the worst part is that he’s become suspicious of his customers.
“What happens is your customers are being maybe treated not as well as what they should be in the interest of trying to guard our profits,” said Kennedy.
Besides blacklights and those counterfeit pens, police are encouraging businesses in the Hazleton area not to accept $100 bills. If you know anything about the counterfeit money, you’re asked to call the Hazleton or West Hazleton Police Departments.