About $5 million in fake United States dollar bills were seized from two farmers during an entrapment operation in a mall in Barangay Singcang-Airport, Bacolod City, Monday afternoon.
Five bundles of $10,000 US bills and a $100,000 US bill were confiscated from Erwin Sicano, 31, and Frelie Toledano, 31, of Murcia, Negros Occidental, Supt. Levy Pangue, chief of the Bacolod Police Investigation and Detection Management Unit, said yesterday.
Each bundle consists of 100 pieces of $10,000 US bills, Pangue said. He added that the examination conducted by the Central Bank of the Philippines showed the bills to be counterfeit.
The IDMU, Mobile Patrol Group, City Intelligence Unit, and Police Station 8 conducted the entrapment operation after receiving information that there were fake dollar bills in Negros, Pangue said.
A pastor, whose name the police withheld, was also arrested during the entrapment but was later released when the police found out that he has no involvement in the crime, Pangue said.
Sicano and Toledano had asked to use the pastor's vehicle and drive them to Bacolod, Pangue said.
“They (Sicano and Toledano) sold a $10,000 US bill for P500, and many (persons) have already been duped,” Pangue said.
He said they convinced their would-be victims that the money were old bills but could still be used.
Pangue, however, said the bills, issued during the World War II, cannot be used now.
The $100,000 Gold Certificate, series of 1934, was used only for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and was not circulated to the general public. This note cannot be legally held by currency note collectors, the U.S. Department of the Treasury website, showed.
Sicano and Toledano allegedly got their supply of counterfeit money from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental and San Carlos City in Negros Occidental, Pangue said.
The fake money is sold per piece, Pangue said, adding that they usually sell them to persons at sidewalks, malls, and plazas.
Charges for illegal possession of false treasury bank note, under Article 168 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 166 Paragraph 4 were filed yesterday against Sicano and Toledano, before the Bacolod City Prosecutor's Office, Pangue said.
Meanwhile, the police are urging the public to always scrutinize each bill they receive, considering that large amounts of money are circulating, especially because December is approaching, Pangue said.*SGG
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