American Greed Episode 46: The Royal Scam: Kings of Counterfeit

Case File

The Royal Scam: Kings of Counterfeit

  • The Counterfeiter
  • It's called the world's second oldest profession. Counterfeiting. Art Williams Jr. learns the trade at an early age. His newfound skills have him living the high life…but will he be able to stay ahead of the law?
  • The Money
  • Art Williams Jr. claims to produce more than $10 million in counterfeit cash. He sells to crime organizations including the Chinese, Mexican and Russian Mafias. Some federal agents say it's the best counterfeit they've ever seen.
  • Family Affair
  • Williams is a craftsman…an artist. His bills are impeccable. But his lucrative career takes a turn for the worst when he makes the mistake of turning it into a family affair.

Web Extras

  • American Greed - Episode 46

    For Art Williams, Jr., dubbed the "king of counterfeit," making funny money is a third generation family affair. He shares his knack to make undetectable US currency with his son, who passed hundreds of thousands of fake bills in Chicago.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The King of Counterfeit

    Counterfeiter Art Williams Jr. learned at an early age how to survive in the projects on the South Side of Chicago.

  • The Art of the Scam

    Art Williams Jr, a tough guy from Chicago's South Side, printed millions in counterfeit cash. Williams learned the craft of counterfeiting as a teenager.

  • US Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska press release 2/28/02

  • United States of America vs. Arthur J. Williams Jr. Plea Agreement, 2/08/07