During a visit to Milton, Arthur Paul Tamulevicz visited Hall's Hardware and attempted to make a purchase with a ten-dollar bill but the cashier discovered it was counterfeit. Tamulevicz said he went to Regions Bank to resolve the matter where he filled out a counterfeit note report, but could not get a good ten-dollar bill from the bank. "Now I'm being looked at by the Secret Service," he said. He said he's an angry Vietnam veteran and this only amplifies his situation.  Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Rich Aloy said counterfeit bills are handled exclusively by the Secret Service. "They're not a trend," he said, "but they come and go. They occur on occasion, in short waves."



Kevin Peterson, store manager at Hall's Hardware, echoed Aloy, saying counterfeits spiked up previously and now they're coming back again. "Last month we had none. Tens were popular in January." Peterson said some counterfeit bills were harder to detect because they were made with government paper, meaning converting existing one-dollar or ten-dollar bills into higher denominations. Counterfeit checking markers don't read these as bad because they're made with government paper, so clerks have to find them by sight. "That's why new hundreds come out," he said. Peterson also said any one counterfeit bill especially hurts small business. "It's somebody's raise. That's what they're up against."



Evelyn Mitchell, with corporate communications at Regions Financial, said every bank agent receives training on discovering counterfeits with markers and counting machines, and visual inspection. "If someone comes in and we identify a bill as counterfeit, it's our responsibility to give it to the Secret Service. That's the same for all banks." Mitchell said customers cannot receive reimbursement for a bad bill for the simple reason counterfeiters could take bad bills to banks all the time for good bills.



Tamulevicz said he feels ripped off. He said he's going to look into buying a counterfeit detecting marker. Speaking of the person who created the bill, he said, "If they're going to ruin my day, I'm going to ruin theirs."