Police Seeking Alleged CounterfeiterFebruary 7, 2018 1:26pm
The hunt is on for a 33-year-old London man wanted for allegedly counterfeiting American money.
London police announced on Wednesday that an arrest warrant has been issued for Christopher Lee Pittman. He is charged with possessing and making counterfeit money, and forgery.
The charges stem from a raid by police at a home on Highbury Ave. on January 26. Officers seized all the materials needed to make counterfeit U.S. $20, $50, and $100 bills, including a security seal stamp, a USB drive containing images of U.S. Federal Reserve banknotes with various serial numbers, and a suspected fake $100 bill. Police also turned up textured paper displaying U.S. Federal Reserve $50, $20, and $100 banknotes and suspected counterfeit LTC bus tickets.
The serial numbers on the items seized matches several counterfeit American $20 and $50 bills that have recently surfaced in the city, according to police.
Pittman, is also facing two charges of possessing and making counterfeit money in relation to a separate investigation involving Canadian currency that began last April. At the time, police were seeing a sudden spike of $100 and $50 bills that mimic the “Scenes of Canada” banknotes that were in circulation between 1969 and 1979.
Identifying a suspect in the months long counterfeit cash investigation is a major coup for officers with the Financial Crimes Unit.
“It is not like in the old days when there was heavy equipment and printing presses. It is simply done now with materials and equipment that is very portable which makes the investigation of it and actual identification and capture of someone in the act quite difficult,” said Detective Sergeant Blair Harvey.
Since 2014, only two other people have been charged with producing counterfeit money in London.
While the technology used to create the recently seized counterfeit bills was not high-tech, police noted they were good enough to fool many local merchants.
“We do have a number of retailers here in the city that did accept these bills. So, to me, if they are able to appear legitimate enough to have someone in a retail environment accept them then I guess they must be pretty good,” said Harvey.
He went on to state that businesses should be suspicious of anyone trying to use old bills that are no longer in circulation. All new banknotes from the Bank of Canada are polymer and feature holographic security areas, raised ink, hidden numbers, and metallic images.
Anyone with information about Pittman’s whereabouts is asked to call police at 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).