It may be “maaga season,” but there is money circulating in Belize. Too bad it’s not the genuine kind, according to Belmopan Police. This week they found counterfeit twenty-dollar bills at the automated teller machines inside the capital’s branches of two major banks, after a similar report a few weeks ago. While investigations continue, Officer Commanding Belmopan Formation, Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett, issued a fresh warning to citizens not to be fooled.
Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett, O.C., Belmopan Formation
“It seems that through the ATM, one or more persons deposited – whether it is innocently or otherwise, that is still being investigated – but it’s very concerning and we don’t want this thing to circulate at any greater level, so we have our investigators looking into it, to see if we could stem the flow of counterfeit currency. As far as we know it’s just twenty dollars’ currency, as you rightly said, yesterday and a few weeks ago was the same. So we want to stop it before it goes any further. The Police alone cannot solve all the crimes in a society – we would be foolish to say that we can do that. So we always enlist the support of the community to assist us, hence the reason why we want to alert the public, so that they wouldn’t be trapped in that. But some of the features that they could look for is the shining window thread that passes through the money, if it is held horizontally, is a thread from the top to the bottom. They can look for the watermark – each banknote has the watermark, so every currency that’s paper has a watermark. When the note is held in the hands, you could literally feel the marks on the surface. These ones that I showed on the media, if you look at them it’s just like paper; if you feel them, you don’t feel…”
“There’s a particular material that is used?”
Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett
“Yes, but there is a raised surface on each of the notes, also. There are certain features on each of the money if you look – if you put it up to the light, you can see the feature that is on the other side of the note, and that one is consistent on all notes.”
As the Central Bank’s public service announcements note, it is a criminal offence to hold or use counterfeit currency.