The Wichita Falls Police Department reports a rise in the usage of counterfeit currency in the Wichita Falls area for the last few weeks.

Sgt. Todd Myracle of the Wichita Falls Police Department Financial Crimes Unit says that he is seeing about 1-2 cases of fake bills being reported each week, and expects to see the number of reported cases rise over the weeks to come.

The funny money collected ranges from tens, twenties, fifties, and hundreds with twenties being predominant. According to Sgt. Myracle, most of the bills show up sporadically in convenience stores, retail stores and fast food restaurants.

Most banks have not reported many cases of phony cash, although a representative from Fidelity Bank in Parker Square says that they have come across 1 or 2 counterfeit bills over the last couple of months. Most banks have electronic cash counters that are equipped with laser counterfeit detection technology, making it very easy to spot a fake.

The Wichita Falls Police Department's main goal at this time is to make business owners aware of the situation and are asking everyone that handles cash transactions around the area to pay close attention to the currency that they are dealing with.  The WFPD also asks that if you come across any currency that you believe to be counterfeit, do not give the money back to the individual - instead keep the bills in question and call the police immediately and share any video surveillance that may be available.

Making arrests in counterfeit money cases is very difficult.  Once a fake bill has entered into circulation it is very hard to track its origin.

While the Wichita Falls Financial Crimes Unit has not yet found the source of the fake bills making their way around Wichita Falls, they do have several leads and possible suspects.  Sgt. Myracle believes that it could be a combination of individuals and groups producing the counterfeit bills.

If you have any information that might assist in the investigation of the production of counterfeit currency please call the Crime Stoppers Hotline: 940-322-9888 or toll free: 1-800-322-9888