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Counterfeit bill passed; police ask for assistance identifying suspect

submitted photo Authorities are seeking the public's help in identifying the woman in this photo. She allegedly passed a counterfeit bill March 3 at a local retail store.

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Police Department is asking for assistance from the public in identifying a woman in a surveillance photo.

According to authorities, the woman was involved in allegedly passing a counterfeit bill March 3.

Anyone who can offer information regarding the woman's identity or whereabouts is asked to contact Worthington Police Officer Jacki Dawson at 372-2136 or Crime Anonymous at 376-8477.

A reward will be offered for information that leads to an arrest of the individual.

According to Interpol, the crime of counterfeiting money is as old as money itself.

The U.S. Secret Service, established for the purpose of suppressing counterfeit currency, estimates that one-third of all currency in circulation at the time of the Civil War was counterfeit. By the end of fiscal year 2006, the amount of fake currency in circulation was less than 1 percent of genuine money, the Secret Service reported.

Locally, authorities receive several reports of possible counterfeit bills each year.

In Worthington, at least four reports of alleged funny money came in, and two have been received in March. Most of the counterfeit bills reported are from large retail stores or banks.

According to the Secret Service, if an alleged counterfeit bill is received, the person who receives it should not return the bill to the passer. The person should observe the passer's description and the license plate number of any vehicle used.

Local authorities or the nearest Secret Service field office should be contacted so the bill or coin can be surrendered.

Manufacturing or altering genuine currency to increase its value is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to 15 years, as is possessing counterfeit U.S. money.

Anyone who counterfeits U.S. coin in any denomination above five cents is subject to the same penalties as any other counterfeiter.