back to article Nashville strippers finger net forger

A Tennessee man who downloaded an image of a $100 bill from the internet, printed himself some instant cash and proceeded directly to a Nashville strip joint was cuffed after suspicious staff called in the cops, AP reports. Damon Armagost, of Smyrna, allegedly splashed $600 in fake currency at the Deja Vu club on 16 April. When …


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  1. Alan Gregson


    How did he manage to print the money, most photo editing applications won't allow you to open an image of a note.

    My Epson scanner won't even scan currency.

    I understand that imaging software and hardware is now programmed to recognise hidden details in most major currencies and won't let you open an image containing a note to stop people forging the money using a colour printer.

  2. Simon Ball


    Not to mention, did he really think that standard printer paper was going to pass for a banknote?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake money

    For a fake sexual experience.

    Sounds like a fair swap to me...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How? Perhaps he used free software.

    See for one of the ways in which some software recognises a banknote.

    I don't know whether anyone sells a T-shirt with the EURion constellation printed on it. It could be really annoying for journalists if people started wearing such T-shirts on demonstrations, etc.

  5. IanKRolfe


    Well, the blocks on scanning currency are a recent phenomenon. If you are of criminal intent, eBay or similar could source you an old scanner and an old copy of photoshop, Paintshop pro or similar. Or you could download GIMP. But I wouldn't guarantee this scheme would work, as forging money in a convincing fashion is virtually impossible without spending tons of cash on a proper intaglio press and getting the correct inks and paper - It just wont look or feel right. If this guy's idea of an ideal way to spend his ill-gotten gains was to go to a strip club then I'd guess he probably hasn't spent a lot on print gear or computer hardware recently.


    So, how do you know your epson scanner won't scan currency? Are you a turrist or something? I'd advise you to report yourself to the police while you still have the chance!!!

  6. John Bayly

    Re: How?

    Wow, I never knew that.

    However, I just did a quick test and scanned a fiver with a brother scanner.

    Saves fine to BMP, and can open it with mspaint.ext and Paint.Net

    Paintshop Pro refuses though.

  7. Nick

    RE: How?

    The same way you can get can use versions of photo editing software that dont require an activation key..get a crack, or a cracked version that ignores that portion of the program

  8. Rob

    You've probably answered your own question

    Most scanners recognise the hidden assets in cash, but I doubt paint shop pro does or any other photo app. It'd just be too complicated to put it in all software. Besides, It'd have to recognise all international versions of the checks if it was worth putting in at all. Presumably once someone's bypassed the check in a scanner, they can scan and upload to their hearts content.

  9. JakeyC


    The 'hidden details' on a note that most image manipulation software recognises is the so-called EURion constellation, a pattern of five coloured circles that are repeated across the note, disguised as part of the design.

    The US $100 doesn't have this feature (nor does the £50 I believe).


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Somehow it's sad to me that not only is someone that stupid--from start to finish, but also (not that I'm rich) that he had to download an image of a $100 bill to set his "get rich quick" scheme in motion.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about an old version?

    If he downloaded it from the internet, all he needs is an old version of Photoshop (or something much less sophisticated) and it'd be a snap...

  12. Steven Griffiths


    Place I used to work at had a new digital laser copier, & used to do a lot of business from students getting certificates copied, which triggered the same kind of anti-copying gubbins & used to come out dark green.

    Asked the nice engineer & he turned it off for us, bless. Cue hours of endless fun with single-sided £20 copy spray mounted to the pavement 2 metres away from the shop window.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His number's up ...

    But surely, quite apart getting the paper right, anybody who had the slightest amount of common sense would surely realise that you either need to spend the notes one at a time, or you need to put different serial numbers on them.

  14. Chris Morrison

    Free money!

    I've got a mate who scanned and printed a twenty pound note to see how good is printer was. He passed it off to the rest of us and we really thought it was a real £20 note. He had scrunched it up a bit and it wasn't crisp but I would have accepted it if it had been handed to me in a shop as change.

  15. A J Stiles

    The really scary stuff

    If you really want the behind scaring off you, do some research starting from the Wiki link and find out how banknote counterfeiting prevention has been privatised. The final decision of whether a given piece of paper is a genuine banknote or a worthless counterfeit rests not with your country's Central Bank, but with a faceless corporation.

  16. Iain Porter

    Software recognition

    Photoshop recognises banknotes and refuses to open them. Image Ready doesn't. Photoshop will happily let you work on anything that you open up in IR and then select 'Edit in Photoshop'.


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > you either need to spend the notes one at a time

    Presumably why he was attempting to spend his loot in a (presumably) dimly lit club. Probably too dark for the ladies to read the numbers on the items being pushed into their underwear...

  18. Jason

    Good lad!

    Now, does anyone in the UK know how to photocopy a pound coin and get that lookin' legit .... because there's no way I'm even showing a fake fiver down one of our ropey old stippers thongs!

    Isn't US money printed on paper and not the same material as UK money anyway ? Seem to remember that College kids in the US were buying high-end printers and top quality paper and printing up pretty convincing phoney US money....

  19. Tom

    Re: The really scary stuff

    "If you really want the behind scaring off you, do some research starting from the Wiki link and find out how banknote counterfeiting prevention has been privatised. The final decision of whether a given piece of paper is a genuine banknote or a worthless counterfeit rests not with your country's Central Bank, but with a faceless corporation."

    Cue scary music and Dr Evil's laugh.

  20. Raheim Sherbedgia

    Re: The really scary stuff

    Counterfiet controls have always been privatized in the U.S. The paper has always been printed by the same company in Dalton, Mass and the "security features" have been deisgned by private companies for a long, long time.

    This is a great example of security by obfuscation, as if the details of the paper and the security features were actually designed and built by the Govt, the information would be available publically, which sort of defeats the purpose.

  21. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Las Vegas Casino Busted couple putting fake $100s in slots.

    The bill acceptor, did just that.

    Many bill readers in slot machines read a "signature" from the magnetic ink used in USA bills but apparently the bill counters in the count room use more sophisticated image recognition.

    When the bills were rejected in the count room, the security cams revealed the faces (but not the identities) of the passers.

    What identified them was their SLOT CLUB CARD, which they had inserted in the machine prior to passing the bills.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He didn't scan anything

    he just downloaded and printed the images who

    knows where it came from he should be let off

    for low rent behavior he obviously is no threat

    to anyone but himself if those strippers had caught

    him they would have torn him to pieces.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think statue of limitations has expired...

    I remember back in college in 1989. The mac lab had just got new scanners and "new" Laser Jet printers. They were both monsters. Me and a few friends were screwing around after hours and decided to see if it could scan/print a decent looking dollar bill.

    It did. We even got the registration to line up properly.

    Then we decided to be REALLY stupid and decided to see if the coke machine down the hall (which had one of them "new fangled" dollar acceptors on it) would take it.

    It did.

    Then we were standing there with a coke and 50 cents in hand and FINALLY realized that we just committed a MAJOR violation of Federal law. And the folks that investigate this sort of thing tend to take a very dim view on the "we were just messing around" excuse.

    That ended our exploration into counterfeiting pretty fast. To this day, I'm STILL amazed at just how simple it was.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably the worst place to do it.

    It can be hard to tell if a cumpled banknote is printed on the right paper with your fingers since they're not that sensitive...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    posted anon for my own protection...

    paper: US currency is made of a cotton rag-bases paper, the exact formula is a carefully guarded secret. With the "new" currency, the paper also has a watermark embedded in it along with the denomination stripe and the red and blue fibers. one of the scams going around at one point was to take $5 bills, bleach the ink off them, and use a color laser printer to print the image of a $20 on them. the watermark and stripe gave it away.

    Ink: the ink is magnetic in a certain fashion, but some bill validation devices use an optical method of reading the bills, with the magnetic signature as a backup. (I'm not sure what my place of work uses, but I'm pretty sure it's a combination of both.)

  26. John A Blackley



    I was just feeling some sympathy for the guy trying to pass fake banknotes to a group of women who could probably smell real vs. fake money at fifty feet, never mind by sense of touch.

  27. James Butler

    New $100 Bill

    There's a new security feature coming to US$100 bills.

    From the Associated Press (

    "The new look is part of an effort to thwart counterfeiters who are armed with ever-more sophisticated computers, scanners and color copiers. The C-note, with features the likeness of Benjamin Franklin, is the most frequent target of counterfeiters operating outside the United States.

    The operation of the new security thread looks like something straight out of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This magic, however, relies on innovations produced from decades of development.

    It combines micro-printing with tiny lenses - 650,000 for a single $100 bill. The lenses magnify the micro-printing in a truly remarkable way.

    Move the bill side to side and the image appears to move up and down. Move the bill up and down and the image appears to move from side to side."

    Inside the United States, store personnel use a couple of different validation methods (i.e. special ink marker) in addition to simply holding the bill up to the light and viewing the security thread. All common-denomination bills ($1-$100) have such a thread, which doesn't copy well. This new thread seems pretty cool, and easier to view.

  28. Kevin

    Printing money

    In Oz, we've gone one step further than fancy paper. We use plastic. Can't print that too well on your bubblejet. Doesn't crumple (much). Survives the washing machine. Has transparent bits, microprinting (if you ever forget the words to The Man From Snowy River, just take a magnifying glass to the area around Banjo on the $10 note).

    And our money is all different colours and sizes. Drove me nuts in the US trying to work out what was what.

  29. Matt Horrocks


    In England we have different size and colours for each denomination, smallest being £5 and largest being £50. Add to that the textured "paper" (cotton based IIRC so it lasts longer), raised print in certain areas, water marks, the metallic woven strip and the foil hologram thing, they look far better than other currency notes I've seen

  30. Will

    RE: Printing Money

    "Polymer series

    The first polymer banknote, the 1988 Australian $10 noteIn 1988, the Reserve Bank of Australia issued plastic, specifically polypropylene polymer banknotes (which were produced by Note Printing Australia), to commemorate the bicentenary of European settlement in Australia. These notes contained a transparent window with an optically variable image of Captain James Cook as a security feature. Australian banknotes were the first in the world to use such features.

    Today all Australian notes are made of polymer."

    The notes we use here, are still the most favoured by msyself of any in the world. Secure, strong, wash-proof and free of degredation without their specific disolving agents (used at end-of-currency-line).

  31. frankgobbo

    @ Matt Horrocks

    As Kevin said above, try the Australian notes.

    They're made of plastic and have pretty much every fancy security device you can imagine, from microprinting to holograms and everything in between.

    Though you can't iron them flat ...

  32. Jason

    Criminals curb efforts with stupidity

    What a absolute farking eejit! Surely if you had hit on this scam the idea is to spend the cash on high value goods that allow you to get in and get out fast with a minimum of fuss.

    Nope, this arse spends several hours in one spot blowing dosh on strippers. Lovely. It gives me hope that that criminal underclass are managing their own active population with utter stupidity.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake bills?

    Can't be any more fake than the one's we get from the government!

  34. Tricia Pulley

    Another stupid criminal...

    I have NEVER had a cashier hold my $1 of $5 notes up to the light or do any type of authenticity check on them. However, it's rare that I hand over a $100 bill and someone DOESN'T check it out before putting it in the till. The fastest way to get busted committing a counterfeiting crime is getting greedy. Then again the dude with a stack of singles isn't likely to get much attention at the strip joint!

  35. Tricia Pulley


    Frank, thanks for the link. Australian currency is gorgeous! I like the colors that the US government has added to our currency in recent years, but Australia outshines us in technology and beauty alike. I hope our money notes get such a stunning makeover in my lifetime!

  36. Arend Smit

    Colourful currency

    For some *really* colourful currency, see the Dutch 50, 100, and 250 banknotes (,, and, respectively). These daring designs (by Oxenaar) as well as others earned the Dutch banknotes worldwide recognition. All were unfortunately rendered obsolete by the introduction of the Euro in 2002.


  37. Jon Tocker

    No EURion here, apparently

    According to the wikipedia article, New Zealand does not use the EURion constellation in its notes but we have similar note technology to the Aussies - polymer notes with "clear" windows (picture inside them), lots of colours and complicated designs.

    According to published by the Reserve Bank of NZ, the notes have the following security features:

    "1. Each polymer note has two transparent windows. One of the transparent windows is oval-shaped and sloping and has the denomination numerals

    embossed in it. The other clear window is in the shape of a curved fern leaf.

    2. There is a fern immediately above the clear fern-shaped window. When you hold the note to the light, the fern should match perfectly with another fern

    on the other side.

    3. You should easily be able to see a shadow image of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when you hold the note to the light.

    4. Each note has an individual serial number printed horizontally and vertically.

    5. Polymer notes have raised printing, which stands up on the surface and can be felt when you run your fingers over it.

    6. Tiny micro-printed letters “RBNZ” should be visible with a magnifying glass.

    7. Under an ultraviolet light the polymer note appears dull. Most commercial papers used in forgeries will glow under an ultraviolet light. However, polymer

    notes contain special inks, which make particular features glow under an ultraviolet light. For example, the front of each genuine note has a fluorescent

    patch showing the denomination numerals, which can only be seen under an ultraviolet light."

    And the special "Millennium Edition" of the $10 note had, in addition to all of the above:

    "One of the security features on the $10 millennium notes is a special "see-through" window. If you fold the bank note over and look through the clear window at the map of New Zealand next to the canoe, the letters `Y2K' become visible.

    Another innovative security feature is the two silver ferns within the clear window, which reflect rainbow colours when you tilt the note to the light."

    After all that, EURion constellations would be a bit of overkill.

    That, and replacing the two most circulated notes ($1 and $2) with coins, makes it pretty damned hard to forge our currency. (And very easy to blow $20 in "loose change" a week without realising you've done so.)

    I'm waiting for the $5 coin to be released when they decide that money is not circulating fast enough and elect to turn another note into "annoying change" to be blown on vending machines. The one- and two-cent coins went the way of the Dodo ages ago and the 5-cent coin has recently followed them, so the time is probably ripe for a 5-dollar coin to be minted under the feeble excuse that "the notes are getting costly to replace" when what they mean is "you're not spending the buggers fast enough, lets make you WANT to get them out of your pocket..."

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably not so difficult.

    I don't know about the alleged features in scanners and printers that would prevent someone from scanning or printing a currency image. I've never tried it. I don't want to go to prison (they allow all sorts of riffraff in there). I'm not convinced that these claims are much more than urban legends.

    It seems to me that scanners in the US might be devised to recognize US currency, but perhaps scanners in other countries don't do this - perhaps being set up to recognize that country's currency, instead. I'd be surprised to hear that scanners are all set up to recognize currencies from all countries, or even from a bunch of them.

    However, it should be simple enough to take an ordinary photograph of a bill, using a digital camera and a decent lens (to avoid barrel/pincushion distortion). Whatever way it was done, someone managed to upload an image of US currency.

    As for detection, well many of those safeguards are useful for purposes of prosecution, but are not necessarily ones the ordinary person would rely upon. You can certainly look for the security strip, if you care that much. But in a dimly-lit club, that feature might not be too helpful. There are tiny red and blue threads in the paper, but you'd need good light, and a magnifying lens, to make them out.

    As for the serial number - how many people really check those out? Do you read your currency? Probably not, unless you've been using mind-altering substances, in which case water dripping from a faucet might seem enormously amusing - and currency serial numbers? Utterly fascinating.

    Print out the bills on decent bond paper, and crumple them a bit, and they'll likely pass muster in some places. Still, doing this is a very bad idea, because the US government has no sense of humor. Counterfeiting is rampant, and it's hard to catch someone doing it. When they *do* get hold of someone, they tend to make an example out of him...

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