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The BBC's Kathleen Hyland
"The bonds were of a very good quality but some of the denominations did not exist"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 12:04 GMT
Trillions of fake US bonds seized
Officials with counterfeit bonds and currencies
Some counterfeit bonds had a face value of $500m
United States and Philippine officials have seized more than $2,000bn (two trillion) in fake US Federal Reserve bonds in the southern Philippines.

They said the large-denomination counterfeit bonds may have been intended to be sold as part of ''lost treasure'' scam where buyers are told the documents have recently been found.


Very frequently these fraudsters weave a tale that there are these long-lost Federal Reserve bonds

US Treasury official David Popp
In a raid on a house in Cagayan de Oro on Saturday, police also seized stacks of counterfeit Japanese yen and Argentine peso notes as well a few fake dollar notes, and some other currencies and bonds.

Police said a Philippine man, Archie Mingoc, had been arrested with the counterfeit currencies and bonds, and five other suspects were being sought.

Major swindle

David Popp of the US Treasury Department said the fakes were of very good quality, but some of the bond denominations did not exist.

The US bonds were in denominations ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to $250m, while the counterfeit bonds of other countries had a face value as low as $30.

Mr Popp said the large bonds may have been meant for a major ''lost treasure'' swindle.

''Very frequently these fraudsters weave a tale that there are these long-lost Federal Reserve bonds hidden away or found in a plane crash,'' he said.

Curious buyers

Philippines National Police Superintendent, Nestor Gualberto, said some of the bonds had been sold in the southern Philippines.

''We know they were selling some bonds to very curious buyers - businessmen in the area,'' he said.

Included in the seizure were $10m in fake German bond certificates.

It is not the first time large quantities of counterfeit bonds and bank notes have been uncovered in Cagayan de Oro.

Last year, police seized more than $60bn in fake US bills, treasury notes and bonds. They apparently were being smuggled out of the country for sell abroad.

A month earlier, more than $50bn in fake US dollars and treasury notes were seized in Malaybalay City.

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See also:

18 Nov 00 | Americas
Colombia dollar factory cracked
18 Mar 98 | Sci/Tech
Dollar counterfeit danger
22 Jun 99 | Your Money
An old money-making scam
20 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
Southern Philippines' uneasy history
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