Top 10 Historical Counterfeiters & Why You Should Know About Them

Top 10 Historical Counterfeiters & Why You Should Know About Them

The U.S. Secret Service is charged with finding people who make fake money and try to pass it as real. Although most people believe the Secret Service were always the agency who protected the president, that isn’t the case. President Lincoln signed the document creating the Secret Service to arrest counterfeiters as well. Today, that remains the agency’s main purpose, but the duties have expanded to include protecting the president, dignitaries and heads of state from other countries, credit card fraud, financial fraud and schemes, and more. The need to fight the counterfeiters continues as strong as it was in Lincoln’s day. In fact, the number of counterfeiters are rising.

Two Factors Lending to Rise in Counterfeiting

Holiday shopping and sales associate fatigue both contribute to the rise in counterfeiting. During the Christmas shopping season, so many people are in the stores that counterfeiters can take advantage. Sales clerks want to get people through the line as quickly as possible, so they don’t pay attention to the money they are handling. They are used to seeing people carrying $20 bills, so they think nothing of it when someone hands them a twenty. In addition, store managers have too few staff and too many hours to work. It is not uncommon for sales associates to work 12 hours or more during Christmas. This means they are tired and stretched to the limit. Coupled with the sheer numbers standing line, it’s no wonder that checking for counterfeit bills is a low priority.


In addition, people making fake money are using more advanced technology. As technology advances, the quality of the counterfeit is harder to discern. In some cases, it virtually not detectable unless you are a trained agent. As the world becomes a marketplace through the Internet, you can purchase the ingredients needed to make fake American dollars. For example, a man recently caught in Canada ordered the special paper that U.S. Mint uses from a supplier in Germany and the special ink from a supplier in China. He also found through the Internet the right type of offset printer to make the bills run in sequential serial numbers, which is one of the determining factors that money is fake.


Who Are the Top Counterfeiters?

  1. Alvos dos Reis — forged contracts with the Banco de Portugal. He received banknotes from official printers. Therefore, his money was real. In 1925, he had pumped $1.7 million into the Portugal economy. When the scam was revealed, Portugal faced financial crisis that led to a dictatorship taking over the country.
  2. Edward Mueller — did such a great job on his counterfeiting that he remained uncaught for a long time. He holds the record for the longest to go without getting caught. His genius was in going small. He opted to counterfeit $1 instead of $100 in New York. He was eventually caught after more than 10 years of getting away with it.
  3. Bernhard Kruger — was part of the Nazi currency counterfeiting operation. The goal of the counterfeiting was to destabilize Allied goverments’ economies. The counterfeiting also was meant to bring in cash for the war. In the concentration camps, the Nazi counterfeiter funneled $6 billion worth of British pounds into the economy.
  4. Mike DeBardeleben — shopped in the malls in 1980s with his fake $20 bills. In the exchange, he would get real currency back. When he was identified, the country set a search upon him. He was caught and sex crimes were also closed when evidence against him was found.
  5. Stephen Jory — is known as Great Britain’s most infamous counterfeiter. He began his career by swapping cheap perfume with expensive pieces wdesigner labels. Although he admitted to counterfeiting $82 million worth of bills, the British government believes the number is higher. His counterfeits made up two-thirds of the number of fake bills in circulation between 1993 and 1998.
  6. Arthur Williams — started counterfeiting at age 16 in Chicago. His mother’s boyfriend mentored him in the trade. For more than 10 years, he printed $10 million. He paid attention to the changes in the security features and adapted his system to include them. He employed automotive paint to create color-changing ink, favored newsprint paper for the U.S. Mint’s special paper blend and drew watermarks. The government caught him in 2002 and gave him three years prison time.
  7. Wesley Weber — created Canadian hundreds that were so close to the real thing, retailers refused to accept any Canadian hundreds. Because of his success, the Canadian government decided to change the look completely.
  8. Anastasios Arnaouti — could have brought down two economies. The British counterfeiter had $4.1 million in 10-pound notes and $3.5 million in American hundreds when he was caught. He had dumped much more into circulation.
  9. Albert Talton — decided to go simple and succeed. He counterfeited $7 million using an inkjet printer.
  10. Pakistani Government — Pakistan creates fake Indian money and smuggles it across the border. This counterfeiting is related to terrorism and grudges against India.

To learn how to tell if American money is real, visit If you need to transfer money, you can be confident that you are transferring real currency.


Featured photo credit: How can You Tell if Money is Counterfeit? via


More by this author

6 Reasons Why French Press Makes the Best Coffee 9 Things To Remember If You Love Someone Who Doesn’t Easily Show Affection 12 Ways To Earn More Money While You Have A Full-Time Job 7 Steps to Reduce Your Laptop’s Fan Noise & Increase Speed 7 Ideas To Decorate Your Home Using LED Strip Lights

Trending in Money

1 The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind 2 How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements? 3 How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money 4 The Definitive Guide to Get Out of Debt Fast (And Forever) 5 35 Real Ways to Actually Make Money Online

Read Next


Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.


How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?


Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]


Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.


Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via


Read Next