EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- An Illinois man who found what appeared to be a $1 million bill said he waited more than four months for the government to tell him it was a fake.
Rodney Dukes, an unemployed 51-year-old who lives in East St. Louis, found the crisp bill in a phone booth and researched it by taking it to a bank, a public library and finally sending it to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Sunday.
Dukes thought the $1 million bill might be too good to be true, but kept checking and held out hope until the Bureau of Engraving confirmed there's no such thing.
"Somebody wanted to give it to somebody. Who is going to sit a $1 million bill in a phone booth? Somebody put it there. Unless it's not real. But you might find a twenty. A fifty. But a million dollars?" he asked.
A California evangelical ministry called the Way of the Master distributes fake $1 million bills with religious messages on the back in virtually unreadable print.The one Dukes found said, "Will you go to heaven when you die?"
Several years ago, the Secret Service confiscated thousands of the fake bills. But a judge ruled that since bills of that denomination had never been printed, they were not counterfeit.
Dukes didn't know this and says that his quest got him dreaming again, thinking about maybe going back to driving a truck and making a living -- and a better life -- for himself.
"I'll make something happen," he said.