(WKTV) - Herkimer County Community College had a problem with counterfeit cash in the fall semester.
"It started with cafeteria staff notifying us that they'd found counterfeits at the bank level when they made deposits," says Director of Campus Security Tim Rogers. "We had seven cases after we were notified that we had a problem at the bank. So we had seven cases. Out of the seven, we made three arrests."
The arrests and tough new security measures have meant no funny money at HCCC since October.
"(We've) had all our cashiers using pens to check the bills, identifying the bills as counterfeit. We also have a camera system that we use, so we're able to find the people who are passing the bills," says Rogers, adding that staff were also given "what to look for" pamphlets from the U.S. Secret Service.
"One case we did not make an arrest, the person had no knowledge of the bill. That was the $100 bill, it was very rare. It was the first time it was ever used in the United States, according to the Secret Service at the time," says Rogers.
The city of Utica has seen a stunning decrease in the number of fake notes. From November, 2012 through February 2013, 87 were passed in city limits. The same time period the following year: 27.
"Probably because there's been a lot of new innovations with the security features, and I think people pay attention more than they did in the past," says Lt. Steve Hauck of UPD, while pointing out a difficult-to-duplicate new security feature down the middle of a new $100 bill. Hauck is quick to point out though, it's a crime that routinely has flare-ups and down periods. And as soon as the government improves its ability to preserve the integrity of its currency, criminals inevitably catch up. The real victims of counterfeiting?
"Plus the people that ultimately end up with the bill when the police get it, are out that money, whether it be $5, $10, $100, when we seize that money, that's money they don't have," says Hauck.