The World Leader in Counterfeiting: Lima’s Fake Dollars

The World Leader in Counterfeiting: Lima’s Fake Dollars

[Police Siren]
Right in the middle of a residential part of El Salvador,
this massive operation has been going on for years,
and it is estimated that there are over $30 million dollars
in fake currency
stashed in this one little place.
According to the US Secret Service,
Peru is the number one producer of counterfeit dollars in the world.
Criminal gangs have also been caught making millions
of Euros and fake Peruvian Soles.
That pickup truck over there is just loaded with boxes
with fake notes, like, probably millions
in fake notes.
And there’s more and more and more being packed right there.
It’s actually so heavy that the tires are deflating already.
The first Peruvian-made counterfeit dollar was detected in the United States back in 2003.
Since then, the illicit trade has grown exponentially.
Last year, US authorities identified just over 16 million fake dollars of Peruvian origin.
Widespread counterfeiting has the potential to undermine the value of the currency,
putting small business owners and unsuspecting US shoppers at risk.
We wanted to find out how easy it was to get hold of top-quality fake dollars.
Lima’s old center and the notorious Azangaro Street are well known hubs for forgeries.
This is where we began the search for the best counterfeit dollar notes in the city.
After a few inquiries, we were introduced to Mario.
His eight minutes turned into two hours, so we decided to go for a ride, and then met him at different parking lot.
Despite the mutual edginess, we managed to finalize a deal.
The idea was to use this purchase as a starting point to develop a relationship with Mario.
These four $50 notes are the ones that the guy just gave us right now.
To my uneducated eye, these ones here — the ones that we just got,
look actually of much better quality than this one, which is actually badly cut at the border.
And then of course there is this $100 note that the guy just gave us that doesn’t look convincing at all.
So now it’s time to test the notes we’ve got.
Along with Peru’s local currency, US dollars are also widely accepted in many of Lima’s shops and restaurants.
We went back to see Mario to tell him that the quality of the forgeries he sold us was not good enough.
He called a contact, whom he assured could get us better merchandise.
Mario went off to call some other contacts, but after the recent bust,
getting people from his network to start selling again was proving difficult.
We kept meeting up with Mario, who offered us different qualities of forged dollars.
Eventually, he came up what he described as the best counterfeit $100 bills on the market.
They actually did look very real. So we agreed to buy them.
I paid Mario the equivalent to 180 real US dollars for 2000 counterfeit ones.
The poorer areas on Lima’s outskirts are the main hub for the production of counterfeit money.
Illegal printing facilities and safehouses where forgers worked are regularly busted by the police.
Police caught this gang trying to smuggle fake dollars into the US.
A liter is a slang term for $100,000 in counterfeit notes
We met with Mario again.
I wanted to know how I could smuggle the notes he had given us into the United States.
He said he had contact, a book binder who would conceal the notes inside the cover of a book.
I followed his advice and bought a book about Peruvian cocktails.
However, the day before we were due to meet the book binder, the police raided Azangaro Street.
The book binder was caught and arrested with dozens of forged documents.
A few days later, the book binder was released.
I suggested we meet at a hotel where we had installed secret cameras.
Mario and the book binder seemed rather uneasy on arrival, and looked around the room,
seemingly trying to spot hidden cameras.
We had managed to buy some of the best fake dollars on Lima’s black market.
The high quality of the forgery is why Peru leads the world in counterfeit note production.
We wanted to find out how these notes are actually made.
We went to see Oscar, who works at a printing house in Lima.
He was going to demonstrate the first stage of forging a note — the printing.
Cotton paper is hard to obtain, and is also considerably more expensive than bond paper.
We wanted to see for ourselves the finishing techniques used to make fake notes believable.
After months of chasing leads and meeting different counterfeiters,
finally we managed to convince an expert in the craft to let us film him at work.
This is the $20 note that he just finished,
and this is the one, an original one, and they do look pretty similar.
And they both have this texture he was explaining me about.
So this is it.
Lima’s fake money.
Despite police efforts, for each counterfeiter caught, dozens more remained undetected.
And even when caught, many forgers usually pay their way out of police custody, or serve lenient prison sentences.
With more and more people learning the skills required to forge a note,
it’s unlikely that the output of Peruvian fake dollars will stop anytime soon.


  1. Fernando Lucena goes undercover for VICE News to expose the illegal trade in counterfeit money and gets rare access to the criminal forgers who show us how these bills are made.

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  3. So much work and at the end he put two Bill's together and they're different shade of green . Plus fake looks dull as hell…. lol please these cats think they can con secret service haha

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  5. In some peoples, their DNA is saturated with criminality… that's just the way it is. The Latino Countries are all plagued with corruption.

  6. The "Federal Reserve Bank" – which is neither federal nor does it have any reserves nor is it a bank – conjures money out of thin air and LENDS that to the government WITH INTEREST… The biggest scam of all time… And uses that money to buy politicians to push for more wars in the Middle East for Israel…


  8. Banking systems and capitalists are robbing people so I don't care if many of these disadvantaged people get to find another way into feeding their families, so long as they don't harm people in the process. And if you think what they doing is wrong… tell it to the rockefellers etc.

  9. I once worked with a guy who got busted in california and went away fro 10 years. He used to take $5 bills, bleach them and print them into $50's. He said he made $10 million over about 10 years and profited about $20K a month. When he was caught, he only had about $1500 in fake bills, but they got him with manufacturing and distribution.

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  11. Leave them alone it's so hard to find work this world is fucked up where does money come from those who are lucky to get an income from the government is lucky but not all of us are so counterfeiting is smart and how dare the police look at counterfeiters like they did something wrong u need money to start you're own business to buy a house I can't drive any transportation I get either bus or whatever the peoe spit there venom at me in my eyes the government is selfish if they ate making there own money they should have enough for everyone I can't even qualify for anything a job a loan I'm pretty a sad song and if I get caught I will tell them they are selfish for locking me up for not being capable of getting my hands on money the legal so imma do it "illegally"as they call it

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  15. Hello people wake up, they are letting people do this. So later on the Government can say we are only going to have one currency in the world, which they will be able to control everyone. READ YOUR BIBLE PLEASE.

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  18. he's a pos. setting up people when the reality the us dollar is worth nothing it has no value. it isn't even an actually currency with anything to be backed by. what a joke, and I live in the us.

  19. i wonder is so so hard to get the real paper to make the bills because you can obviously tell their fake once you feel them!!! lol

  20. $2000 buy a pound of weed from a dealer you have no connection with. Flip it per gram. 15 a g thats 6,720 congrats.

  21. The counterfeiter took $180 real US dollars for $2,000 fake US dollars. If he's selling a good product did he not just rip himself off 😂 Too funny. You can't teach that level of stupid. You're born with it lol.

  22. Highly irresponsible undercover journalism here. Vice, you should do better to protect those you are exploiting for a story. Otherwise a Vice journalist is gonna get whacked by your own stupidity

  23. Yup, curuupt US federal reserve banking system does the same and prints billions buys the largest military and now is biggest world bank mobsters in the world and get away with cleaning theirs with your US taxes (no gold back-up standard anymore) just backed-up by the sweat off of your slave working ass and your unborn future families too…"Fiat" currency they call it the "world IMF banking cartel"? All amurican politicians are in on that game (getting paid-off to make laws to keep you enslaved & taxed for all your life)!
    Someones have it made here and aboard over in lizard land england too?! Here's something for y'all "(🐦)"!

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  25. 20:19 the difference in color is pretty noticeable. Look at the Presidents face is a lot darker in the fake Bill. And he cut it too much in the edges

  26. The subtitles continually refer to the dollars as BILLS there is nowhere on US currency where the word BILL appears. The correct term is NOTE!!!! these are Federal Reserve NOTES not bills!! get it right.

  27. This has been going on for decades. North Korea, Hong Kong, Columbia, etc., etc. have all had major counterfeiting gangs. The U.S. $100 is very difficult to copy convincingly.

  28. A few times in my life…funny money has passed through my hands before being humiliated by shopowners or the pimple faced fuk at the gas station with that overly simple pen that says ur cash is bunk. So, my question is this..htf do these mofos stay so far ahead of the gd US Treasury…? American dollars, while seemingly sophisticated and technical in the design and numbers, metal strips and other various security measures…it's all bunk, and now I never carry cash…only card…even then…there is some hack in Hoboken ready to separate me from my digi-money…with a keystroke. We're all fkd, go back to burying ur cheddr in the ground. This docu, got me triggered..I realize now, I'm having a rant. Thx nways #VICE

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