The Southwest Counterfeiter
A master counterfeiter who made and passed more than $2 million in counterfeit $100 "Supernotes." More
Garbis (Gary) Krajekian had a normal boyhood growing up in the predominantly Armenian-Christian, small town of Kessab, in northwest Syria. At nineteen, he came to the United States as a medical student to continue his education, but soon found himself dealing with besetting and seemingly insuperable adversity. For the next few years, he struggled to scrape a living, and eventually, addled and abject, he placated his scruple and succumbed to the absurd idea of literally making his own money. His escapade lasted more than a decade.
An inventor by nature, Gary built his own papermaking and intaglio-printing machines, and used modern technology and centuries-old techniques to replicate the security features of three different series of genuine $100 notes. The Unites States government, in its indictment and sentencing memorandum, used terms such as “reverse-engineered” and “sophisticated counterfeit product” to describe his bills, and labeled him a “master counterfeiter.” His bills defeated most counterfeit detection methods and devices, and even made it past the banks’ counting machines and into the Federal Reserve System. They were of such high quality and became so prolific in the southwest region of the country that the Secret Service named them “Southwest Notes.”
In The Southwest Counterfeiter, Gary delves into the details of why he became a counterfeiter and how, alone, he made and passed more than 23,000 counterfeit $100 bills in malls and some banks, one at a time. He also recounts many of the eerie and sometimes wry anecdotes depicting his innumerable encounters with retailers, and the details of his few ominous brushes with the law over the years, none of which ended with his arrest. Finally, he reveals how, after a routine traffic stop, a bizarre twist of events led to his arrest more than a year later. By the government’s own admission, it was a bit fortuitous he was ever caught. The Southwest Counterfeiter is a somewhat tragic, yet gripping human story that takes the reader on a one-of-a-kind, suspenseful adventure.
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