Firework Stand Operators on Alert for Counterfeit Money
WESLACO – As people flock to fireworks stands across the Rio Grande Valley, one Weslaco stand is on the lookout for phony cash.
For the last few years, Pastor Michael Gomez has been opening fireworks stands during the holiday season.
Gomez said he’s dealt with his fair share of counterfeit bills in his years of experience.
He said people would come up looking to break a large bill, but when he would take a closer look, he “realized it was counterfeit.”
Gomez said he wants to warn others so they don’t fall victim to this crime.
“We just need to be careful and kind of the whole community to work together in warning the other stands,” he said.
Weslaco Police Department Lt. Joey Cano said this type of crime is something they see happen three to four times a month. He said they typically see this at the large-scale shopping stores.
Cano said there are a number of ways you can spot a fake bill. He explained their top recommendation is using a counterfeit pen to mark any questionable bills.
"Another thing you can look out for on the bill, is looking at the bill through a light. It will also reveal a thin vertical strip containing text that spells on the bills denomination,” he said.
The officer added counterfeiting is a federal offense and can be punishable up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.