Suspect says fake bills ‘only a hobby’
WITH nothing better to do, 64-year-old print shop owner Richard Uy said he chose to make fake currency notes as a hobby following his retirement from his commercial art business.
“Retired naman ko, nya wa koy lingaw. Usahay lagi pugson ta mubuhat, nya nagkinahanglan man pud ta ug kwarta (I’m retired and I don’t have any diversion. Sometimes I’m forced to do it and I also need the money),” he told reporters following his arrest last Tuesday afternoon.
Uy was charged before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office yesterday with “forging treasury or bank notes or other documents, illegal possession and use of false treasury or bank notes and possession of instruments for falsifying said notes.”
He was brought for an inquest proceeding, a mandatory procedure following an arrest.
But Uy opted not to undergo preliminary investigation which would have allowed him to refute the allegations.
Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) said they seized several fake P1,000 and P500 bills in Uy’s home following a sting operation at a meat shop in barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City.
The seized fake dollar bills are estimated at P150,000 while the peso bills amounted to P250,000.
“Uy is accused among other things of tampering and counterfeiting of Philippine bills,” NBI-7 agent Bernard dela Cruz said.
Dela Cruz said their informants told them that the counterfeit money will be sent to Mindanao in time for the elections.
“Uy is part of a bigger syndicate operating in Cebu and Mindanao,” he said. Uy denied the charges against him and said he will post bail.
He said his primary job is to print T-shirts and other art works. Uy claimed that he just heeded dela Cruz’s request to manufacture fake money.
“Gipugos ko nila. Nahaylo lang ko sa kwarta. (The NBI-7 agent forced me to manufacture fake money bills. I was just tempted to follow what they ordered because of money),” Uy said.
Uy said the fake P1,000 bills cost P200 pesos each and every fake P500 bill costs P150 each.
He was placed under surveillance for a month before last Tuesday’s sting operation.
Uy, a resident of barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City, was arrested after he turned over several pieces of fake P1,000 and P500 bills to dela Cruz who posed as a buyer.
Aside from the wads of bills, the NBI-7 also confiscated fake official receipts, computer monitor, printer, scanner, CPU, and raw materials for using fake money like onion skin paper and coupon bond paper.
Representatives from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BPI) Investigation Department said they’re coordinating with NBI-7 in this case.
Uy said his participation is limited to making the bills only. He said he doesn’t know how the bills are being distributed.
Uy said he taught himself through practice on how to make fake bills.
A BSP representative who requested anonymity said one can identify genuine bills from fake ones.
“Genuine notes have race prints which are detailed. Fake bills don’t have watermarks, a window security thread and race prints,” he said.
He said counterfeiters normally distribute fake bills based on the old Philippine currency design because the new bills have enhanced security features.
He also said Cebuanos should be cautious about the money they receive.
“We don’t encourage the use of money detectors. It’s better to identify them through touch and sight. They can also visit www.bsp.gov.ph to learn about the security features,” the BSP representative said. With Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol