Bedford Avenue is awash in counterfeit cash as business owners say they were bilked by patrons pawning off fake Benjamins.
Business owners clustered around the Bedford Avenue L-train stop say that over the past few months, a man and a woman in their mid-20s have used fake $20, $50 and $100 bills to make purchases.
Louis Segna, who owns the Northside 99 Cent store on N. Seventh Street, said that one of his employees received a fake $20 in March from a blonde woman in her mid-20s.
“She bought $15 worth of detergent and household stuff,” said Segna.
The 99 Cent store wasn’t the only neighborhood shop that was duped.
Spike Hill, a Bedford Avenue bar, mistakenly took two bogus $100 bills and a $50, while 11211, a neighboring mail supplies shop, accepted a phony $100 bill, and Eden, a pizza place took a few sham $20s.
The Salvation Army store on Bedford Avenue wasn’t fooled, turning away a forger trying to push a fake bill.
Several business owners told cops about the problem at a meeting of the 94th Precinct Community Council on Monday, describing the fake money as just real enough looking to convince a busy shopkeeper, but clearly fake upon closer inspection. For one thing, the paper doesn’t feel like real money. And on the fake 20s, the portrait of Andrew Jackson is slightly elongated and distorted, giving Old Hickory a funny look.
But no one is laughing on Bedford.
“We work so hard for our money, so it’s not funny,” said Phyllis Mascia, a street vendor on Bedford and N. Seventh who was had by an imitation $20 just this week. “It’s not healthy.”
For now, Mascia said she is marking all her bills with a special counterfeit detector pen.
The reports at the precinct council meeting came just days after the federal government issued a new prototype for $100 bills designed to frustrate forgers.
An officer with the 94th Precinct said that the bills are being held by cops, but will soon be sent to the Secret Service for further analysis.