Secret Service is responsible for getting rid of counterfeit currency

I read with interest the story about counterfeit money showing up in Medford. I am wondering what happens to all this fake cash? I know the state disposes of illegal drugs by incinerating them at a location in Salem. Does a similar fate befall counterfeit money?

— Kris K., Medford

The funny money seized in Medford is destroyed, but not by local authorities, Kris.

According to Medford police Sgt. Brent Mak, the agency keeps the money for evidence purposes and then turns it over to the U.S. Secret Service office in Portland when the case is adjudicated.

"The feds deal with all the counterfeit money we get," Mak said.

Because the Secret Service is a wing of the U.S. Treasury, it is tasked with investigating and dealing with all fake money seized in the United States.

Mak said Secret Service agents from the Portland office make several trips a year to Medford to question suspects in local counterfeit cases.

"We see a steady amount of counterfeit money in this area every year," Mak said.

So far this year, Medford police have taken 171 reports of fake money through May, up from 63 reports at this point last year.

Much of the fake money is found by banks and turned over to police, Mak said.

Anyone arrested with fake money is charged with crimes such as possession of a forged instrument or forgery. Either way, it's a felony to create or knowingly possess fake cash, Mak said.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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