Warning on fake $50 notes
By JONATHON HOWE - Manawatu Standard
Last updated 12:00 15/10/2009

A counterfeiting ring based in Hawke's Bay is believed to be responsible for a flurry of fake $50 notes in Manawatu and Horowhenua.

Seven fake $50 notes have been handed to police in the past fortnight three in Feilding, two in Palmerston North and one each in Foxton and Woodville.

The notes have been made by sticking two thin pieces of paper together and using clear tape for the transparent windows.

White corrective fluid or paint has been drawn around the windows which have crudely drawn $50 indentations on them.

Feilding Detective Grant Lawton said the notes were of reasonably good quality and would look passable to most people. "They aren't perfect copies but they are still good enough to pass by, so the general public are vulnerable."

The size of the notes was similar to real money but the look and feel were slightly different, he said.

A young Maori woman wearing dark sunglasses used two of the $50 notes in Feilding on Tuesday one at a lunch bar and the other at an Indian restaurant.

"She went into the lunch bar during a busy time, so they've just put it through," Mr Lawton said.

On Monday the same woman used a fake note to pay for a taxi ride in Feilding.

Another fake $50 note was used at a Foxton charity shop on Saturday by a man and a woman who had a child with them.

The same couple used a fake note at a Palmerston North market the weekend before.

Two more notes were used at a Palmerston North shop, in Highbury, and in Woodville last week.

"We are really just asking people to be vigilant when accepting notes but it's going to be hard for people in nightclubs because of the light."

The notes appeared to be connected to a counterfeiting ring in Hawke's Bay, Mr Lawton said.

Hastings Detective Sergeant Mike Foster said between 20 to 30 notes had been found in Hastings in the past two months. Fake $20 to $100 notes had also been found in Napier.

Mr Foster said a single group was believed to be producing and distributing the notes but he could not confirm if the ones found in Manawatu came from Hawke's Bay.

The maximum penalty for someone caught using or producing fake money is 10 years in prison.

Palmerston North businessman Justin Leck, who owns six McDonald's restaurants, was aware of the fake notes in circulation but said McDonald's had a policy of checking all $50 and $100 notes.

Anyone who finds a fake note should handle it as little as possible, put it in a plastic bag and take it to the nearest police station, Mr Lawton said.

A 32-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man were arrested and charged for using fake money in Feilding last night. They will appear in Palmerston North District Court today.

From here.