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'Movie money': Fake, but legal dollar bills for use in movies being used for counterfeit purchases at an alarming rate, say feds

Posted at 6:43 PM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-06 22:56:45-05

MIDTOWN — They're dollar bills that look like real money, but are not.

Motion picture notes are legally produced fake dollars for use in the making of films, television shows, and professional theater productions. In recent years, however, the so-called movie money has been increasingly been sold by online retailers to buyers outside of the film, television and theater industry.

"Now," said Sen. Charles Schumer on Friday, "counterfeiters go online, buy reams of this stuff, and use it at stores."

Schumer, the Senate majority leader and New York Democrat, said at a news conference on Friday that the increase in movie money abuse is prompting him to join with the U.S. Secret Service to fight the growing problem.

According to the Secret Service, which handles counterfeiting crimes, $103.4 million in counterfeit bills were spent last year. That included a 25 percent increase in the use of motion picture notes in counterfeit operations.

Like the acting that occurs in movies, TV and on the stage, the prop money is designed to be as real as possible, without being the real thing.

It results in situations where anyone who logs onto an e-commerce site can purchase tens of thousands of dollars of realistic looking cash, and pay for it with very few actual dollars.

"We want the Interrnet Association to have its membership -- places like eBay, like Amazon," Schumer said, "to stop selling this stuff."

The Internet Association is the lobbying group for major internet retailers.

The association's spokesperson Noah Theran made this statement to PIX11 News: "We have received Sen. Schumer’s letter, and look forward to working with him to better understand his concerns."