March 14, 2006

Man busted in Calif. with billion dollar bills

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The counterfeit money looked good,
but there was one flaw. There's no such thing as a one billion
dollar bill.

U.S. Customs agents in California said on Tuesday they had
found 250 bogus billion dollar bills while investigating a man
charged with currency smuggling.

Tekle Zigetta, 45, pleaded guilty to three federal counts
of trying to bring cash, phony bills and a fake $100,000 gold
certificate into the United States in January.

Further investigation led agents to a West Hollywood
apartment where they found the stash of yellowing and wrinkled
one billion dollar bills with an issue date of 1934 and bearing
a picture of President Grover Cleveland.

"You would think the $1 billion denomination would be a
giveaway that these notes are fake, but some people are still
taken in," said James Todak, a secret services agent involved
in the probe.