Episode 31: Funny Money

Case File

Funny Money
One man's bold scheme to get rich quick. Albert Talton puts a modern twist on one of the nation's oldest crimes -- making counterfeit money. American Greed profiles a multi-million dollar con!

Funny Money

  • U.S. Secret Service
  • An estimated $200 billion in counterfeit U.S. money is manufactured each year. The U.S. Secret Service is best known for protecting the President, but the agency's original mandate was to safeguard our money.
  • The Con
  • Albert Talton is running a counterfeiting operation and circulates more than $7 million in phony cash around the globe. In 2005, Secret Service agents encounter a bill unlike anything seen before. The cash looks and feels genuine. That spells trouble for the agency.
  • The Operation
  • High-grade counterfeits are usually made with engraved plates and printing presses. That type of set-up is hard to hide, but a digital counterfeit operation can be almost invisible. Finding the Talton's printer will be like finding a needle in a haystack.
  • End Game
  • The homemade money turns up everywhere from upscale retailers to mom and pop operations. The lost revenue creates a widespread ripple effect. Agents in Los Angeles track the bogus money that leads to Albert Talton.
  • Counterfeit Currency Monday, 29 Mar 2010 | 7:14 AM ET
    The portrait on a genuine US note appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat, and details merge into the background, which is often too dark or mottled.

    Only the very best counterfeiters in the world can pull off a bill so good that only experts can spot it as a fake.

  • Counterfeit Combat: Hardest Notes to Fake Tuesday, 30 Mar 2010 | 10:31 AM ET
    In the United States alone, there's an estimated $70 million in fake currency floating around. Fortunately, as the technology counterfeiters use improves, so does that of authentic bills. All across the globe, experts are devising high-tech methods to combat counterfeiters. Color-changing ink, special polymers and holographs are just some of the innovative technologies incorporated into today's banknotes. In 2007, the International Association of Currency Affairs began picking the best new count

    In the U.S. alone, there's an estimated $70 million in fake currency floating around. Click to see some of the world's currencies that are most impervious to fraud.

  • Counterfeit Cash     Thursday, 25 Mar 2010 | 12:02 AM ET

    Supervisory Counterfeit Specialist, Kelley Harris explain how to tell if your money is real or fake.

  • Albert Talton     Thursday, 25 Mar 2010 | 12:01 AM ET

    See more Secret Service surveillance footage of counterfeiter Albert Talton and his conspirators.

American Greed Showtimes

Friday, April 18th 12p – 6p ET
12p ET AG #79
The Lady Killer
1p ET AG #82
Young Lust Goes Bust
4p ET AG #81
Murder in Memphis
The Prisoner of Wall Street
Saturday, April 19th 1a, 3a ET/PT
$udden Death/ Hip Hop Hustle
Sunday, April 20th 1a, 3a ET/PT
Check the U.S. TV schedule for additional showtimes.

Most Popular Video

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | 5:00 AM ET

Today is CNBC's 25th anniversary. There have been a lot of great moments in the network's history. Here are just a few.

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | 3:15 AM ET

Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel, says China has been a "cash cow" for drink-makers, but the slowdown is having a big impact on sales.

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | 1:35 AM ET

CNBC's Helia Ebrahimi discusses the Co-Operative's troubled story from drug buying allegations against the former chairman, to big financial black holes.