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A quartet of teen counterfeiters from the Frenchtown area has been cited for making and passing at least $95 in fake five- and 10-dollar bills.

The boys, all high school students between the ages of 15 and 17, were caught last month after nine counterfeit $10 bills and one counterfeit $5 bill showed up in various businesses and banks in Missoula County, said sheriff's Detective Ed Jemison. They were identified using surveillance photos from places they had passed the bills.

The boys used only one bill per transaction, and most were spent at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, Jemison said. He refused to say how the boys made the bills but said the feel was obviously different from that of a real bill.

U.S. Secret Service officials based in Great Falls assisted in the investigation, but the teens will not be charged in federal court.

"If they were adults, they'd probably be looking at federal charges," he added.

The boys, whose names were not released, have all been interviewed and cited for their participation in the scam, Jemison said. They were not jailed.

"They were interviewed. Admissions were made," Jemison said.

Reporter Ericka Schenck Smith can be reached at 523-5259 or at esmith@missoulian.com

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