There were plenty of clues that a billion-dollar U.S. bearer bond that a man tried to cash in Fort Lauderdale was just too good to be true, federal authorities say.HT: the Sun-Sentinel's Flori-DUH blog.
The bond, supposedly issued in 1934, appears to have been printed on an inkjet printer and seemed to contain a security thread – both technologies that did not exist until many years later, investigators said. The counterfeit bond also featured a photograph of Grover Cleveland, who was president in the 1880s and 1890s.
But perhaps the biggest clue was the eye-popping billion-dollar figure on the face of the bond. U.S. Secret Service Agent Charles Callahan told a judge Wednesday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale that the highest-valued bearer bond in that era was $10,000 and the highest-valued bond ever was a $1 million one issued in 1978.
Hugo Barrios Briceno, the 50-year-old Venezuelan man accused of trying to cash the counterfeit bond at a Fort Lauderdale financial business earlier this month, will remain locked up because he is a potential flight risk, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt ruled Wednesday. Barrios Briceno was arrested Aug. 16.
The judge asked to see the document during the court hearing, joking: "Believe it or not, I've never seen a billion-dollar bond before."
"That's because they don't exist — not legally anyway," prosecutor Daniel Cervantes quipped.
Defense lawyer Alberto Quirantes said his client committed no crime and was tricked into repeatedly trying to cash the bond. He said Barrios Briceno believed the bond was genuine, based on advice from at least two people he thought were experts....MORE
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As I related in 2009's "So a Sicilian mafioso walks into HSBC…" I had a somewhat similar experience:
...In a less sophisticated move, I once had a slightly deranged money guy insist that his $1 Billion of Japanese government bonds were good collateral. Here's one of the issues he proffered, image via Scripophily.com:
Here's a close-up of the engraving: