Benton County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Reports Of Counterfeit Money

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- The Benton County Sheriff's Office is investigating multiple reports of counterfeit money and advising business owners to take a close look at $50 and $100 bills, according to a press release.

Since April, the sheriff's office has received five complaints of counterfeit money from businesses in Lowell, Prairie Creek and Siloam Springs, said Shannon Jenkins, sheriff's office spokeswoman.

One of the businesses hit with one of the counterfeit bills was Uncle Sam's Fireworks just east of Siloam Springs off Highway 412.

The manager of the stand, Betty Bartholomew, said a tall, slender man with tattoos up and down his arms tried to buy about $30 worth of fireworks and paid with a $50 bill.

When her husband took the bill though, he noticed something seemed a bit off.

“We had taken a $50 bill earlier that day and he was comparing it to the two," Bartholomew said. "He didn’t think it looked right so he brought it in showed it to me and obviously it was not right.”

Bartholomew explained that the bill didn't look or feel authentic.

They took the money back to the man who then got back in his car and left.

Bartholomew explained the man acted very nervous when they told him about the bill.

She has been working for Uncle Sam's Fireworks since the early 1990s and has dealt with counterfeit bills just about every year.

She advises others to simply know what to look for.

“Go to the bank and ask them if you don’t know what to watch for, how to do it and get all the tools you need to check them," Bartholomew said. "And don’t be afraid to say, 'no.' If people are truly legit and not trying to pass a bad bill, they’re not going to get upset at you for doing that.”

The sheriff's office recommends checking with the United States Secret Service website for accurate and updated information on how to identify counterfeit notes. Counterfeit detector pens are useful, but aren't always accurate, according to the release.

Jenkins also asks anyone with information about people using counterfeit money in Benton County to contact the sheriff's office's Criminal Investigation Division at 479-271-1008.