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June 05, 2023

Nearly $15 million in counterfeit U.S. bills seized by customs officers in Philly last month

Four shipments were made containing fake bills of various denominations, officials said. No arrests have been made

Investigations Counterfeits
Philly Fake Bills Seized Provided Image/U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Customs officials in Philadelphia seized four shipments of counterfeit U.S. currency totaling a combined $14,368,160. The source of the fake bills remains under investigation.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers seized multiple shipments of counterfeit currency, totaling just under $15 million, in Philadelphia last month, authorities said.

Four separate shipments of fake money came into the city, including two seizures on May 26 that each contained nearly $2 million of counterfeit currency.

The initial shipment on May 2 contained almost $3 million in fake bills, followed by a second shipment seized on May 5 that had almost $8 million, officials said. All of the shipments contained various denominations of U.S. currency totaling $14,368,160.

The source of the fake money is still under investigation and no arrests have been made. Authorities did not say where the four shipments originated. 

CBP officials said there is growing concern about fake bills that closely resemble real U.S. currency.

"With the increased use of online marketplaces creating more in-person transactions, unscrupulous people could potentially victimize inexperienced sellers or small businesses by using the counterfeit currency during fraudulent purchases or in other financial fraud crimes," the agency said.

Counterfeit currency is often used to finance illegal activities like financial fraud, narcotics smuggling, terrorism and attacks against financial systems, officials said.

The counterfeit currency has been turned over to Homeland Security Investigations and special agents with the U.S. Secret Service in Philadelphia. They are coordinating the investigation with colleagues in Chicago.