'Watch out for counterfeit money'
Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
Police in Montego Bay, St James believe men involved in the infamous lottery scam are now diversifying their operations.
"I have no doubt that these same persons who are soliciting money through the lottery scam are the same persons involved in the age-old crime of counterfeiting notes," said tough-talking Superintendent Merrick Watson, commanding officer for St James, yesterday.
The St James police are now in possession of several United States counterfeit notes, which would be equal in value to J$195,000.
The confiscation of the notes came after the police intercepted a motorcar on Harbour Street in downtown Montego Bay on Monday.
Three men from the Lilliput area in the parish have since been charged with possession of counterfeit notes and obtaining credit by fraud. Their identities are still being withheld pending an identification parade.
Reports are that a man went to a bar on Sunset Boulevard, where he placed an order and tendered a US$100 note to the proprietor, then left the establishment. The proprietor, however, became suspicious of the note and alerted the authorities.
The police later intercepted the vehicle along Harbour Street and its occupants searched.
A total of US$ 1,900 in US $100 notes; US$400 in US$50 notes, and US$40 in US $20 notes were found in their possession. They also had J$13,000 in counterfeit $1000 bills.
According to Watson, the recent find represents the need for businesses, which handle cash transactions, to invest in devices that can quickly detect counterfeit notes.
"Scammers are finding innova-tive ways to separate persons from their money and we have seen that with the debit and credit cards scams among others," he warned.
"What we are saying to traders is that they must be vigi-lant, counterfeit notes are out there and counterfeiting is happening."
The officer said that while they are pleased with the arrests, they believe more counterfeit notes are still in the hands of criminals.
"We are not naive to think that we got them all (counterfeit notes). They are still out there."