Crime & Courts

Police: Here’s what counterfeit bills circulating in Anchorage look like

There's been an uptick in counterfeit cash circulating Anchorage, police said Wednesday, and anyone handling currency should be on the alert for the bills that look and feel off.

Fake money is being seen in all denominations, the Anchorage Police Department said in a written statement.

"Some of them have Turkish words on them; some have Chinese characters printed on them; and some have the words 'motion picture,' " police said.

"Take an extra moment to make sure the bills both look and feel authentic," police said.

Police released several images of the fake currency that officers confiscated.

The agency also pointed people toward a resource put out by the U.S. Secret Service called "Know Your Money" that describes how you can figure out whether a bill is real or counterfeit.

In Wednesday's statement, police described an incident at a coffee shop in ChangePoint Church on Sunday.


A 42-year-old man, Wanderson M. Lopes, walked up to the Caffe D'arte coffee stand and asked the barista for the tip jar, police said. He put a $10 bill in the jar and asked for $5 in return.

"When the employee looked at the $10 bill she noticed it was fake as it felt funny and had the words 'only motion picture purposes' written on it," police said.

The barista called police, according to court documents. Lopes "insisted that he did not know the bill was fake," and said he had found it on the ground outside the Black Angus Inn.

Officers arrested Lopes. As Lopes was driven to the Anchorage Correctional Complex, his behavior "began to escalate" and he started yelling, refusing to comply with officer directions, moving around in his seat and calling the officers names, according to police.

The officer stopped the car, court documents say, and decided to "pat search" Lopes. When Lopes got out of the car, the officer found more fake currency where he had been sitting, police said. Some had matching serial numbers. Lopes denied that they were his.

Online records show that Lopes had been charged with forgery, a felony.

Anyone who has been given counterfeit cash is asked to call police dispatchers at 907-786-8900 (press "0") "so an officer may collect the money as evidence," police said.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.