AP NEWS

Counterfeit bills allegedly circulating in Walker County and surrounding areas

May 2, 2019

Walker County locals are accusing a local credit union of handing out counterfeit bills.

Dana Hallman, of Walker County, posted in a local Facebook group on Apr. 22, saying that the Fort Oglethorpe branch of Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union has given her family counterfeit bills and denied responsibility.

On Thurs. Apr. 18, Hallman reportedly went with her son to TVFCU to cash a check for $2,400. She waited in the parking lot while her son went in to get the check cashed. After being in the building for nearly twenty minutes, her son came out and explained that the teller had miscounted his money several times (as he made a deposit as well as getting cash). After counting it out by hand, he noticed that several of the hundred dollar bills dated all the way back to the 1950’s. He allegedly commented about this, to which the teller replied, jokingly, “it’s old but it still spends.”

They didn’t think anything more of it, aside from poor customer service, which everyone experiences from time to time. Hallman and her son left the bank, and went to pay their employees. The following weekend, however, Hallman says they stopped at a gas station on Highway 58 and tried to use one of the older hundred dollar bills and were told that it was counterfeit.

Hallman took the bill back to TVFCU immediately, to explain the situation and hopefully get some answers. They went to the teller on duty and asked her to check it. The teller took one look at the marked bill and said “oh, that’s not real,” and proceeded to beckon for the manager, who again, confirmed that the bill was counterfeit. Hallman explained that they’d gotten several of the bills from the credit union, and in response, the manager allegedly pushed the bill across the table with her pen and asked Hallman and her family to take the money and leave the bank. When Hallman asked what to do, the manager simply said that once the money leaves the teller’s hands, it is no longer the banks money or responsibility. She said they could keep it and turn it in, but she preferred that Hallman leave with the money and proceed to destroy it.

“I just want to remind people to check their money,” Hallman said, “as you would trust your financial institution to not let this happen.”

Legally, the manager was correct, regardless of how rudely she was perceived: when the bill leaves the bank, it belongs to the person holding it and the bank is no longer responsible. With that said, action can be taken. There is a form one would need to fill, and turn into the local Secret Service along with the counterfeit bill. Past that point, it should be taken care of legally, but chances are, the customer would have to take the financial loss.

Over the past several years, the same bank has received a number of similar accusations, including one anonymous woman who claims that a few years back, the same thing happened to her. The bank reportedly did, however, take the money back in this case and sent it to the federal reserve, refunding the money to the customer.

When contacted about the most recent incident, officials from TVFCU declined to comment, except to say that there is nothing the local branch can do.

If you or a loved one has encountered a counterfeit bill, visit https://www.secretservice.gov/contact/ and fill out the form titled “Find a Field Office.”

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