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Schumer calls on Secret Service to help police combat counterfeit money in Syracuse area

CAMILLUS, N.Y. — U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) is urging the U.S. Secret Service to “step up” its efforts to combat the “uptick” in counterfeit money circulating in the Syracuse region, including fake $100 bills.

Schumer spoke at a news conference Monday morning outside the Byrne Dairy store at 3385 Milton Ave. in Camillus.

“Over the last year, and even over the last month, counterfeit transactions have reached alarming proportions,” Schumer told the assembled media.


Authorities have identified about $100,000 in counterfeit money in the Syracuse region over the last year, which means it is “likely” that hundreds of thousands more dollars are in circulation and has gone undetected, Schumer’s office said.

In the last month, 10 stores in the Syracuse area have reported counterfeit transactions.

“We use our crime-analysis center to track the various counterfeit currency that comes into our area. Last month alone, we were able to track 10 separate cases throughout Onondaga County,” Frank Fowler, chief of the Syracuse Police Department, said in his remarks.

Police from several local agencies stood behind Schumer as the senator spoke.

Schumer called counterfeiting a “recent and unfortunately growing” trend in the Syracuse area.

Some scammers have used the introduction of a new $100 bill, and retailers’ lack of knowledge of the bill, to their advantage, Schumer noted.

Many of the recent counterfeit instances have involved fraudulent $100 bills, he added.

For example, a scammer used a counterfeit bill at a Byrne Dairy location close to the store where Schumer spoke.

Other businesses reporting counterfeit transactions included Empire Brewing Company, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and Wegmans, Schumer said.

Empire Brewing Company and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que are both headquartered in Syracuse. Rochester–based Wegmans is a supermarket chain with several locations in Syracuse and upstate New York.

Merchants don’t always recognize when a bill is counterfeit, but when business owners take the money to the bank, they face a rude awakening when the bank doesn’t accept the funds.

“You’re out the money,” Schumer said bluntly.

Fake bills are a “serious” problem for local shop owners, since they have little to no recourse for recouping the money they are owed, the Democrat added.

Schumer is urging the Secret Service to work with local law enforcement to figure out the source of the fake currency and to supply the resources local retailers need to identify counterfeit bills.

“We are asking the Secret Service, the federal government, which has jurisdiction over counterfeit dollars, to come in and step up their efforts,” Schumer said.

The agency has a “number of investigations underway,” the senator added.

The Secret Service is a federal law-enforcement agency established in 1865, “solely to suppress the counterfeiting of U.S. currency,” according to its website.

He also wants the Secret Service to help local businesses be aware of what to look for in the currency that consumers provide.

“We need some local workshops. We need to work with the chamber of commerce to do just that, so Syracuse stores are not taken for a ride any longer,” said Schumer.


Contact Reinhardt at


PHOTO CAPTION: U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) speaks outside the Byrne Dairy store at 3385 Milton Ave. in Camillus. The senator is calling on the Secret Service to help local police find the source of counterfeit money that consumers are using in transactions at local businesses. The group standing behind Schumer includes officers from several police agencies and representatives from both Byrne Dairy and Empire Brewing Company, two businesses that have been victimized by counterfeit money.




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