A security investigator working in Peru explained to the Associated Press the process of making fake money that made Peru the number one producer of counterfeit US dollars.
In order to make counterfeit money, the counterfeiters use off the shelf software such as Corel Draw or Microsoft Office to design the dollar bill. Using a process called photolithography and the etching of metal plates, the bills are offset printed onto bond paper.
The sheets of fake money are then lightly coated with a varnish and then individually hand cut. The security strip of the bill, which can be seen when a real $100 bill is held up to a light, is inserted into the fake bill using needles and glued with the use of a medical syringe.
The counterfeit bills then pass through a machine with rollers to give the bill a rough texture. Finally, the fake bills are sanded down with sandpaper.
To create a batch of $300,000 counterfeit notes usually takes about four to five days.
Security officials state that counterfeiters earn a profit of $20,000 for every $100,000 in counterfeit dollars they make, or 20 cents for each fake dollar created.
Only fake $100 are smuggled into the United States, with fake $10s and $20s bills being smuggled to neighboring Argentina and Venezuela. The bills are smuggled the same way that cocaine is smuggled, through the use of false-bottom suitcases and even rolled up and swallowed.
The United States Secret Service stated that the counterfeit dollars are easily passed into circulation at retail stores.
Source: Associated Press, “In Peru, U.S. dollar counterfeiting “more profitable than cocaine”,” CBS News, September 5, 2013.