Fake $100s Flying Around Lakeview — We Have Pix, Video, And An Important Serial Number To Avoid

This good-quality counterfeit $100 bill was passed in Lakeview last weekend. | @ChicagoBars

Businesses across Lakeview have been buried in a blizzard of fake $100 bills over the past two weeks. Now, CWBChicago has identified a serial number connected to at least two cases and—thanks to local merchants—we’ve collected images of the fake bills and three suspects.

In recent weeks, two different businesses have been handed fake $100 bills with the serial number HB69416277J. So you’ll definitely want to avoid those. Most recently, a bill with that serial number was passed at La Gondola restaurant, 2914 North Ashland, on Saturday afternoon.

This fake $100 bill was passed at La Gondola restaurant on Saturday afternoon. | La Gondola

For La Gondola owner Andrew McGuire, Saturday’s attempt was the fourth time that someone tried to pass a fake $100 at the restaurant this summer.

This man, 25-30 years old in a Metallica tee, passed a fake $100 at La Gondola. | Andrew McGuire

“They always come in fast on their phones talking like they’re in a hurry, order something small and pretend like they have a wad and hand you an old $100,” he said.

Also hit on Saturday afternoon was Taboo Tabou at 843 West Belmont. A man and a woman walked in and “worked it together,” owner Alexis Thomas said.

This couple was connected to the passing of a fake $100 at Taboo Tabou on Saturday. | Alexis Thomas

Thomas sent along this video of the pair:

Alexis’ father, long-time Lakeview retailer Mark Thomas, is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who turns the couple in, she said.

“Also, point out they are a**holes because they totally sucked as humans beyond the fake money,” she said. Can do, Alexis. Can do.

Even Trickier Than They Appear

Special markers designed to detect fake U.S. currency are no longer reliable, McGuire said. Ink from the markers turns yellow when it touches money and black when it touches non-currency paper. But the criminals have found a way around that.

“They’re bleaching [genuine] $5 bills and printing $100s on them,” McGuire said. So, while the paper tests true, the denomination that’s been printed on it has changed.

Modern U.S. currency has a variety of images embedded into the notes themselves. Given the advanced efforts of today’s cheats, the best way to test a suspect bill may be to look for those embedded watermarks.

Modern U.S. currency has embedded watermarks such as Benjamin Franklin’s face (right). Such features are difficult to duplicate in fake bills (left). | @ChicagoBars

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About CWBChicago 4274 Articles
CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com