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BRIEFLY

Banking & Finance

February 28, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Rise in Counterfeit Money Seen: Criminals are counterfeiting more U.S. currency overseas, aided by obsolete security features of the nation's money, the General Accounting Office said. Of the $380 billion U.S. dollars in circulation in fiscal 1994, about $208.7 million was identified as counterfeit, said the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress. Sixty percent of the $380 billion in use today is exchanged in foreign countries, according to the Federal Reserve. Accurately assessing the level of counterfeiting is impossible, the GAO said, but evidence of increased counterfeiting abroad is strong, the agency said, citing a Secret Service analysis that the detection of bogus dollars abroad increased by 300% in 1993. At least one nation in the Middle East, left unnamed by the GAO, is suspected of sponsoring production of particularly hard-to-detect fake $100 bills, the GAO said.

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