A New Jersey man was shocked when police informed him that the $100 bill he withdrew from his bank to pay taxes earlier this month was a masterfully made counterfeit.
What the man may not have realized is that the State Department has confirmed a rash of these almost undetectable counterfeits, called “supernotes,” have been flooding the U.S. from North Korea in a form of monetary sabotage one former FBI agent warns could constitute an act of war.
The existence of the supernotes was exposed in 2008, when several Chinese men were convicted of smuggling tens of millions of dollars worth of the counterfeit money into the U.S.
Originally, the supernotes fooled even state currency experts.
“It wasn’t until they took [a] bill back to Washington, D.C., and they examined it in the labs of the Secret Service … that they determined that in fact it was a supernote,” author and former FBI agent Bob Hamer explained to the Christian Broadcasting Network. “It’s a near-perfect replica of our $100 bill.”
But authorities also discovered that the Chinese men hadn’t actually produced the counterfeits; they were only the vehicle for smuggling the currency into the U.S.
Last month, the International Business Times reports, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley confirmed U.S. officials now have “no doubt” that North Korea is behind the counterfeit currency ring.
And that, Hamer told CBN News, could be considered an act of war.