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Post office gave fake money, man said

May 25, 2010 at 6:59 PM

LOS ANGELES, May 25 (UPI) -- A California man said he nearly was arrested when he inadvertently tried to use counterfeit $100 bills received at a post office.

David Lipin, 43, of Los Angeles, said he tried to use the bills at a gas station, but the clerk said they were fake and called the police, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

"The police said the $100 bills were actually $5 bills that had been bleached and altered. They showed me how you could hold them up to the light and see Abraham Lincoln's face. All eight (bills) turned out to be counterfeit," Lipin said.

"Unfortunately, counterfeit money is like a hot potato. Whoever ends up with it last is the victim," said Wayne Williams, deputy special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Secret Service Office.

Although Lipin said he got the counterfeit money from the U.S. Postal Service, the government accepts no responsibility under the circumstances.

"We don't have anything in our regulations to address this," Richard Maher, a Postal Service spokesman said.

"If you tried to cash a bill you were told was fake, you could be arrested," Williams said, adding that the crime is a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

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