The buck stops here. But where should it stop if it’s counterfeit?
LA resident David Lipin says that when he cashed a $1,000 US Postal Service money order, the postal worker gave him eight $100 bills (along with $200 in twenties). Lipin proceeded to a gas station, filled his tank, and attempted to pay with one of the hundreds.
“The clerk took a close look at it and said it was fake,” Lipin told Los Angeles Times business columnist David Lazarus. The police were called, and all eight bills were declared counterfeit. “The police said the $100 bills were actually $5 bills that had been bleached and altered,” Lipin said. “They showed me how you could hold them up to the light and see Abraham Lincoln’s face.”
What Lipin saw next was red. The police “took a report but said they couldn’t do anything,” then referred him to the Sheriff’s Department, which referred him to the Secret Service, who told the Times, “Unfortunately, counterfeit money is like a hot potato…Whoever ends up with it last is the victim.” But Lipin got the “bogus cash” from the post office, the Times countered, so shouldn’t Uncle Sam “bear some responsibility?” Not really, said the Secret Service. “Postal workers don’t have special equipment or training to spot counterfeit bills. Unless they’re in on it, this isn’t their responsibility.”