MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — On July 12th, Murfreesboro police thought they were about to make a drug bust at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites on North Thompson Lane.
“A large number of people were coming in and out of the room that day,” said Detective Tyler Smith with Murfreesboro Police Department.
“It wasn’t drugs,” Smith said. “They were in fact printing money.”
Three people were arrested in a counterfeit money ring.
Police say the suspects were caught with $660 of fake cash in their hotel room made through a process called “washing.”
“Bleaching the bills and printing currency onto those bills,” Smith said.
On July 30th, Smith says Jerrold King used $4,000 in movie money to buy an Audi.
“They can buy several, several thousands of dollars in this novelty money,” the detective said.
Since July, Murfreesboro police have made 10 arrests in five cases where counterfeit or movie money was used.
Most of the scams involved buyers and sellers meeting online, according to police.
“We want to believe that the person we’re dealing with is honest,” Smith said.
While the bills may look real, Smith says there are always red flags.
“The serial numbers do match up in several of the bills,” Smith said while showing several of the counterfeit bills.
Smith says police are beefing up their efforts, working with businesses and online services to make arrests.
“We’re getting plate numbers,” he said. “We’re doing photo lineups. We’re able to make a dent in this.”