OAPs in fake euro fraud

A TOTAL of 900,000 euros in counterfeit bank notes has been seized in just eight months, following the discovery of eight ‘money factories’ in Portugal. The Polícia Judiciária (PJ) arrested 43 people, between January and September this year, in connection with the fraud operation, the majority of whom are professional printers and over 60 years old. The falsification of the euro is now as prevalent throughout the world as the dollar, which historically has always been a target for this type of crime. Although the notes are distributed across the country, the counterfeiting activity mainly takes place in Lisbon and Porto and it was in these locations that the police discovered the ‘factories’ and proceeded to make the arrests.

The PJ’s Chief Inspector for the Investigation of Fraud and Corruption commented: “Actually in Portugal, the majority of this fraudulent activity is done using computers, but obviously the money produced has an inferior quality to that produced on an offset printer. There are young people who have produced euro notes in small quantities using a computer and printer and, in these cases, it is rare for the production to be linked to a major fraud ring.”

For the police, the most difficult cases are those that are linked to fake notes produced on offset machines by professionals who then go on to organise the distribution of the counterfeit money. “Many of the main falsifiers are older printing professionals who consider the crime an art form. They fabricate large quantities of notes of a very high quality. In the main these individuals are often over 60 and there was even a case involving an 80-year-old!”

An average of 700 false notes are currently being detected in Portugal each month, usually by shops, businesses or banking institutions. Banks and the police are warning businesses across the country to remain vigilant.

The most commonly produced are the 50 and 100 euro notes. Obviously, these amounts are popular with fraudsters because producing and using lower amounts may not be worth the risk. On the other hand, trying to pass off notes of higher values always arouses more suspicion from the recipient.