Examining a counterfeit $20 bill, Lt. Brad Pyle exclaims "this is the best I've seen."
Pyle of the Prince George’s county police says there are between three and five thousand dollars worth of counterfeit $20 bills in the community.
"It can just go on and on. I mean, you can see the quality of these, it's good. Unless you're really looking for it you're probably not going to see it,” Pyle said.
On Wednesday Prince George's county busted a counterfeit ring, arresting eight people. Four were arrested in Maryland and another four in Chicago.
Officers say Carlvestri Clark, a twice federally convicted counterfeiter, was the ring leader. Investigators say Clark manufactured $20 bills, then sold a stack showing face value of $100 for $30. People from Chicago would buy them, then take the money and buy a $500 pre-paid visa card and use that at an ATM to get real money.
According to officers, Bladensburg Wal-Mart cashier Cassandra Spencer would hand the fake twenties out as change to customers. The bills look real, but looking closely you can spot differences like rough edges, smeared ink, heavier paper and no security thread.
Despite the differences, detectives say the counterfeit bills mix in with other bills. Shopper Francell Williams said she would have a hard time recognizing the fake bills.
“As long as it says, $20 or $5, and it looks legitimate then it's legitimate to me,” Williams said.
"Now that I know, if I get change, I'll look at the bills," said Bob Grogard, another Wal-Mart shopper.
For Prince George's organized retail crime unit, the concern is getting the money out of the community, so more innocent shoppers don't become victims.