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BEHIND THE SCENES: Fake toonies found in Northern Ontario

SooToday's Ken Armstrong takes us behind the scenes

Vintage Games N Junque owner Mike Turcotte came across a suspicious 2012 toonie in Sault Ste. Marie while sorting through his cash register earlier this month. Upon closer inspection, Turcotte noticed irregularities in its design, including rough edges, recessed designs, and a dollar symbol instead of the number two on the tails side. He also observed a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that did not resemble her usual image. Turcotte shared photos of the counterfeit coins on social media to raise awareness of their circulation.

Counterfeit coins can have significant repercussions for businesses, leading to financial losses. Rory Ring, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the negative impact of fraud on businesses, stating that they must absorb the cash loss and fulfill their financial obligations to employees and suppliers involved in the transactions. Criminals producing counterfeit money are becoming more sophisticated by employing new technologies in their schemes. In a previous case, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) seized approximately 10,000 counterfeit toonies and arrested an individual on charges of uttering counterfeit money and possession of counterfeit money.

While the specific origin of the counterfeit coins found by Turcotte remains unclear, the RCMP suspected that the previously seized counterfeit toonies originated in China. They identified a distinguishing feature as a split toe in the right front paw of the polar bear design on the tails side. Although the coin discovered by Turcotte does not match this design, it highlights the ongoing issue of counterfeit coins circulating within communities. The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service confirmed their awareness of counterfeit coins circulating locally and advised individuals who come across such currency to report it to the police. Suspected counterfeit currency is then forwarded to the RCMP for verification and subsequent destruction if confirmed to be counterfeit.


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