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BUTTE – Counterfeiters in Butte have hit a new low.

Police say the most recent criminals are unique, though probably a bit misguided – they are making $1 bills.

“It’s very odd. I’ve never seen a dollar counterfeited before in my life,” Butte-Silver Bow Undersheriff George Skuletich said.

“It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he added.

So far, seven fake $1 bills have surfaced in the Mining City. The culprits took the time to mark different serial numbers on the bills, but failed to cut them evenly.

“Be aware of dollar bills that are crooked,” Skuletich said.

One of the fake bills was reported after an inmate at the Butte Prerelease Center attempted to use it to purchase a soda pop from a vending machine last Tuesday.

Authorities generally confiscate $20, $50 and $100 bills. This fraudulent cash also is softer than real money.

“They were not very well produced,” he added.

Police were tipped off to the fake bills after a young man used $7 worth to purchase items at Hastings over the weekend. The bill weren’t found until employees later counted the money.

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The last rash of counterfeit bills in Butte involved much better produced bills of high denominations.

At least $1,100 in $100 bills were confiscated in April. That case is being investigated by the Secret Service in Missoula.

Police linked that amount to a man trying to use the fake money to wire funds at Butte stores. The bills have the same serial numbers.

The man, a Butte resident who has not been charged, told officers he received $3,000 in cash from his Nigerian sweetheart, whom he met on the Internet, and apparently was unaware the money was counterfeit.

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