ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A West Michigan mother is out $100 after she received a fake $100 bill at a Kent County Walmart Sunday.
Leann Ward used her Bridge Card at the retail giant and elected to get $100 cash back as a part of her cash assistance from the state.
Ward took the bill from the cashier and left the store at 3999 Alpine Ave. NW in Alpine Township.
Ward, along with her fiance, took the money to Menards to buy a trash can, some cleaning supplies and other household items Ward said she could get cheaper at Menards.
During the checkout process, a Menards cashier used a counterfeit detecting pen and discovered the bill was a fake.
Ward took the bill back to Walmart.
"The assistant manager was called in. They examined the bill for several minutes and then told us there was nothing they could do because we left the building" said Ward.
"It's frustrating, you know, 'cause you're trying to take care of bills, trying to be a good citizen, and we're getting the short end of the stick, literally. We are out $100."
Despite being out the money and what Ward and fiance Rick had set out to buy Sunday, the couple could still count the timing of the funny money as a blessing.
"If this had happened last month I would have really been, right now been sitting here crying in tears not knowing what I was gonna do," said Ward.
"I couldn't pay the bills, couldn't pay the rent, I couldn't pay the electric, I couldn't pay everything. Stuff wouldn't have gotten paid and I just would have been lost. I would have been a basket case. Now it's still hard to believe it but I can accept it a little easier because this would have been a little extra. But the extra don't happen very often and it would have been nice to have something extra for once."
Last month Ward, her 14-year-old son, and her fiance were living off of only $200 from their disability checks, plus their food assistance from the state. Both Ward and Rick are unable to work due to health problems.
This month Ward received her first Social Security income check and her last disability check, giving them a little extra cash for the month.
The couple planned to buy items they have put off buying in months past.
"It's a lot of money. I mean, there are lot of bills and household supplies we could have had, and we have to do without now. We'll get them next month but it's back to the drawing board to scrape along for a few weeks."
Ward said she called 24 Hour News 8 Sunday not to complain but to get the word out about the fake money.
"The bill could fool anybody" she said. "Whoever is doing it is good. Just want people to know that it's happening, today in Kent County right now. Be aware, be informed, watch your money."
The Kent County Sheriff's Department told 24 Hour News 8 that it is also investigating two fake $20 bills that were passed at the same Walmart store on Friday. Those fake bills were noticed by the cashier.
The sheriff's department said it does not believe this is a ring of bad money, and authorities have a suspect in the $20 bills case.
Counterfeit detecting pens can be purchased at most office supply stores.
Some other ways of detecting counterfeit bills:
* Hold the bill up to the light and look for the watermarks
* Look for the tiny red and blue threads in larger bills
* Try using a fingernail to scrape the jacket of the person on the bill; if you don't feel raised portions then the bill is most likely fake
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