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Fake money operation: Man arrested after counterfeit bank notes found in South Auckland

Grace Tinetali-Fiavaai

A man has been arrested after police discovered a counterfeit money operation in South Auckland.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Police said they could not put an exact amount on the large sum found, but a spokesman confirmed it was “tens of thousands” of dollars worth of fake currency.

The 29-year-old is due to appear in the Pukekohe District Court later today charged with presenting a forged document.

He also faces a charge of cultivating cannabis, after a cannabis operation was found at the same property.

A search warrant was executed by the police at a Pukekohe address last week in connection with an ongoing investigation into the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit currency.

Counties Manukau Tactical Crime Unit Sergeant Tod Kirker said his unit was investigating several recent reports of counterfeit banknotes being circulated in the local community.

“As a result of the search warrant, our team found that counterfeit bank notes were being manufactured at the address.

“We also found a large sum of forged banknotes in the final stages of being ready for distribution and use in the community. We also located a firearm, ammunition, and cannabis plants.

Two women earlier arrested

“On close inspection, anyone should be able to recognise that these supposed banknotes are fakes.”

The latest arrest comes after two women were arrested just over two weeks ago for using counterfeit bank notes after complaints from retail owners in Pukekohe.

They were found with 44 forged $50 notes and five forged $5 notes.

The women were also linked to a series of incidents starting on September 25 when the driver of a stolen car drove off without paying for petrol at a gas station in East Tāmaki.

Police are encouraging members of the public who come across a counterfeit bank note or given one to contact authorities immediately.

“Do not accept it,” police said.

Anyone who has already received a counterfeit note is advised to put it inside an envelope to avoid handling it further and call Police.

The public - including local shop owners or businesses - are also urged to send through any information or CCTV security footage or video showing anyone who is using or attempting to use fake bank notes.

Can you help? Anyone with information that may help Police can contact CrimeStopper anonymously on 0800 555 111 or Police on 105

Hero Image: The fake bank notes found at a property in Pukekohe, South Auckland. Photo / NZ Police

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