Apart from the cabbage rolls, Romania is one of the biggest pride points in being the first country to switch to polymer banknotes in 1999. The advantages were obvious: plastic money is much more durable and, above all, much more difficult to counterfeit. As a result, less than 1% of their plastic money is counterfeited.
However, what the Romanians had not foreseen was that their early adoption would simply produce a finer generation of criminals. At the top of this list was 1% of counterfeiters as thought leaders who, according to Romanian police, “produced the best counterfeits in Romanian history and became the largest counterfeiters of plastic banknotes in the world”. His 100 lei notes (about $ 24) fooled everyone except the most advanced forensic technology and looked and felt so much like real business that people called them super lei.
Romanian Ministry of Finance
If his falsification was flawless, it was his gang’s criminal operation. Hustler searched for particularly “gullible” travel providers at local trade fairs and events and left their phones switched off so as not to be followed. Since “[w]itnesses could not provide information about the notes because no one noticed that they had been given a fake. “The gang escaped the police force for six years and spent over 1.7 million lei or $ 440,000.
But counterfeits require flawless attention to detail, and it turned out that this counterfeiter’s dirty money was a little too … dirty. A technician found that one of the 17,000 counterfeit banknotes was stained – not on the banknote, but in it. This stain turned out to be a partial fingerprint that was perfectly preserved and pressed between the polymer layers. Since only a handful of people could have browsed the inside of a fake bill, this led to the arrest of three members of the Super Lei gang, including the fake ringleader himself, who was only identified in the media as a CRT – what we assume counterfeiters regrets that Touch.
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Top Image: Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism