Now, did that grab your attention? Maybe this, from Big Hollywood will, too:
According to my Secret Service case agent, this was the first time anyone accused of possessing the Supernote went to trial. In the past, those caught entered guilty pleas. Liu, a Taiwanese national, decided to take his chances with the federal judicial system. With a twelve year sentence, he may now be re-thinking his decision to roll the dice in the Las Vegas federal courtroom. In one exhibit we played a video recording of an undercover meeting I had with one of Liu’s co-conspirators, Chao Tung Wu. Wu, believing me to be a criminal confederate, said on camera the money was manufactured in North Korea and distributed through the Russian embassy in Beijing. Expressing fears this might be some kind of “rip,” Wu suggested I travel with him to China and sit outside the embassy as he made the purchase. But even that tape failed to garner national media interest.
Balbina Hwang of the Heritage Foundation believes the North Koreans produce about $250 million of the Supernotes per year. Various other investigations claim anywhere from $45 million to $1 billion in Supernotes are in circulation. Your guess is as good as mine. Since the flaws are invisible to the naked eye we have no idea what we may be holding in our wallets.
The world knows North Korea is a nation that relies upon criminal ventures such as counterfeiting, kidnapping, and drug distribution to maintain its solvency. Some believe the North Koreans are producing the Supernote to undermine our economy. One look at our current economic situation seems to show we don’t need outside help… maybe counterfeiting is no big deal.
On Jan. 26, 2006, in a White House news conference, President Bush asserted, “We are aggressively saying to the North Koreans don’t counterfeit our money.” A Congressional Research Service report two months later concluded, “At least $45 million in such supernotes of North Korean origin have been detected in circulation, and estimates are that the country earns from $15 to $25 million per year from counterfeiting.” Later that year, Hezbollah — a wholly owned subsidiary of the repressive regime in Tehran — began flooding Lebanon with supernotes. Thanks to Iran and North Korea, there may be billions in “phony Franklins” floating around the world. The bills also have turned up here at home.
Economic action precedes military action.
I’m guessing it will be more troublesome to get the economy righted if there are millions in counterfeits flooding the American market.