Counterfeit Operation Busted After Major Clue

8:13 PM, Jul 14, 2010   |    comments
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photo courtesy the United States Secret Service

MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA) --An international counterfeit operation busted after a routine traffic stop.

It's cold hard cash, that's completely worthless.

Police say the scheme was uncovered when officers noticed a driver swerving all over the road near Independent Hill Drive and Dumfries Road in Manassas on June 3rd.

Officers stopped 30-year-old Jose Portillio and found that he was not only intoxicated but carrying three bogus $100 bills.

That led them to 39-year-old Ronald Virto.

Police say during a search of Virto's home they found $5,900 in fake notes.

Police believe Virto is the main distributor.

Officer Michelle Nemerow with Prince William Police says, "Through the course of the investigation, we learned that the money was brought from Peru that's why they accidentally left the Spanish phrase. I would not say they are the smartest criminals."

But some people, 9NEWS NOW talked with who are from Peru, say it's common practice to have $100 bank notes with the Spanish saying that means good luck.

They also say the fake bills are usually smaller and different colors. They add that people are making the good luck charms larger.

Prince William County Police aren't buying it and believe there could be some businesses in our area that could be duped by these bogus bills.

Secret Service says there are 125 cases linked to the same serial number of the counterfeit notes.

Written by Surae Chinn 
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com

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