Monday, May 15, 2006

When They Say L.A. Is Fake, They Really Mean It

Los Angeles, CA

In 2005 $6 million in counterfeit cash ran through the L.A. economy. Nationwide it was $56 million. That makes L.A. the counterfeiting capital of the United States.

last week Solange Candelo was picked up for passing counterfeit $100.00 bills at a Studio City nightclub, paying for drinks with the phony Franklins and pocketing the change.

Inside her car police found $14,000.00 in fake cash, an unloaded pistol and half a dozen stolen Colombian passports.

counterfeiting has become a real problem for small businesses in Los Angeles with fake bills coming up through Mexico. Colombian and Mexican drug cartels turned to counterfeiting a few years ago and now a lot of the counterfeiting here comes up over the border. It's a lucrative business with less risk than drugs.

But the whole thing can unravel in the blink of an eye. Candelo's method for passing the bucks is a pretty standard one. The idea is to pass the money around for small things in places where paying with a hundred dollar bill won't arouse much suspicion. Like nightclubs.

Where she screwed up was in passing more than one. The club owner got suspicious when looking at one of the bills and was able to track her down when he found that she had used more in the same club. What she should have done was drop a hundred, grab her drink and leave.

Go when it's insanely busy. Be nondescript, look like you fit in. If you're passing stuff in a biker bar wear leather. If it's a gay bar... well, wear leather. Either way, you need to get in, make the drop and get out. The whole point is to not have anyone notice until the end of the evening so that when they do figure it out your face doesn't pop up in their memory.

Back in January an extensive counterfeiting ring starting in Guadalajara, Mexico was dismantled because one guy paid for a 3 hour lapdance with four fake hundred dollar bills. The dancer was not amused.

So who knows when, or even if, Candelo's suppliers will get hauled in. Could take years to trace the long winding road the fake bills traveled. In the meantime check those bills ladies and gentlemen. That hundred folded in your g-string might be worth a little less than you think.

1 comment:

Graham said...

A three hour lapdance? Beats hell out of Gilligan and the Skipper and their three hour tour.