He Was Only Printing Millions – But Every Bit Helps

 

BourassaMaster counterfeiter Frank Bourassa

(Photo via ABC)

 

Frank Bourassa of Trois Rivieres outside Montreal,  was reportedly a 'master counterfeiter', one of the 'best in the world'. Not only that: after printing an estimated $250 million in fake $20 bills and getting caught, he is walking out of jail after just six weeks and paying a fine of $1,500.  He negotiated a favorable deal for himself, which apparently is based on letting the authorities know where the rest of his  masterfully forged bills are stashed. According to ABC:

 

“A man who claims he is the best counterfeiter in the world, Frank Bourassa, has been allowed to go free after turning over a huge quantity of fake U.S. $20 bills that authorities say are “not detectable by the naked eye.”

Bourassa, a resident of Trois Rivieres outside Montreal, Canada, spent only a month and a half in jail and Canadian authorities agreed earlier this year that they would not extradite him to the United States for prosecution. He walked out of court on March 28 after paying a $1,500 fine in Canadian dollars.

“I’m safe, absolutely,” Bourassa told ABC News in an interviewed to be broadcast tonight on "20/20".

“They can’t do nothing about that,” he said after freely admitting how he set up a secret printing operation capable of producing $250 million in fake U.S. Currency.

[…]

“It was important to get this right away, get this off the street, get this off the market,” said Tasha Adams, an investigator with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Integrated Counterfeit Enforcement Team (ICET). “To detect the counterfeit on this one is very difficult,” added RCMP investigator Dan Michaud.

Bourassa said he spent two years studying the details about currency security on the website of the U.S. Secret Service to learn how to produce his fake money. Security features added to the $20 in 2003 have not been updated since then, a Secret Service official confirmed.

U.S. bills are “the easiest of them all” to counterfeit, Bourassa said, because they are not printed on polymer. “Even third world countries in Africa have polymer bills already,” he said. He revealed how he began his operation by tricking paper mills in Germany and Switzerland to produce the unique paper made of cotton and linen used in the production of American bills.

“You have to start with that,” he said, to create the right feel when people handle the fake bills. “It’s got this crisp feel. If you don’t have that you’ll have nothing.”

Then, Bourassa said he scoured the internet to find suppliers in China that could provide ink and security features similar to what is used in the genuine bills.

“You know, go big or go home,” boasted Bourassa, who had previously served short stints in prison as a small time drug dealer. The European paper mills shipped him five palettes of the special paper and Bourassa recalls the day it arrived.

“That was the coolest thing on earth cause from there, once his is done, the rest is nothing,” he said.

Authorities say Bourassa had help from others, including an actual skilled printer, who helped him locate an off-set press to produce the bills and other equipment to add non-consecutive serial numbers. Once the money was printed, he sold it in bulk to criminal groups. “One million in fakes was $300,000,” Bourassa said.

Bourassa regarded his accomplishment as a complete victory over the United States government. “It was, like, screw you,” he said.”

 

(emphasis added)

Bourassa should have known that the government doesn't like competition in the money counterfeiting business. In the end, federal agents caught up with him, but apparently it is regarded as so important to get hold of the still extant bills, that he got off extremely lightly for giving up the places where his paper and printing machinery are hidden.

 

Money Creation by True Professionals

However, what no-one has asked yet is this: Why wasn't Bourassa given a medal, or at least an honorary doctorate from Princeton? After all, he sure increased 'spending' in the economy, didn't he? Not by the trillions like the Fed has done, but every million presumably helps! The retail trade must certainly have got a big shot in the arm from California to Nevada to Florida. And Bourassa's fine product continues to help the economy all over the show:

 

“Tryon of the Secret Service said that the American public should "rest assured that only one hundredth of one percent of currency that is in circulation is even perceived to be counterfeit."

“That number is so small because we do a great job in investigating these cases, as [do] our law enforcement partners,” he said. The Secret Service says there were more than 3,500 arrests by American law enforcement last year of people attempting to counterfeit U.S. currency. The $20 bill was the most widely passed of the fake notes. But what Bourassa and the Mounted police investigators agree on is that there are lots of his fake $20 notes still in circulation in the U.S., virtually undetectable.”

 

(emphasis added)

Perception is everything! While there are still “lots of his fake bills in circulation in the US”, only  “one hundredth of one percent of currency that is in circulation is even perceived to be counterfeit”, and all because law enforcement is doing such a great job! It doesn't really matter if money is actually fake, just as long as it's not 'perceived to be'.

 

640px-US_20_Series_2006_Obverse-ann

$250 million in Bourassa 20s have helped the US economy to get back on its feet.

 

This unlicensed helping hand of the Fed was really a small timer though when it comes to the money ex nihilo creation business:

 

TMS-2-LTMoney TMS-2 (w/o memorandum items), via St. Louis Fed: while Bourassa printed a mere $250 million, the Federal Reserve created $4.8 trillion since 2008 – click to enlarge.

 

Nevertheless, one must assume that US economic activity was spurred by Mr. Bourassa's efforts, right? What would US aggregate economic data have looked like without the intercession of Bourassa and others in his line of business who haven't been caught yet?

 

Conclusion:

We present this news item strictly in the spirit of showing how absurd the demand for more money printing by central banks truly is: if money printing by the Fed or the BoJ is 'good', why should we consider money printing by a master counterfeiter like Bourassa to be bad? What indeed is the difference?

The truth is that the essence of monetary interventionism hasn't changed one iota since the times of John Law – they're just pretending to be 'more scientific' about debasing the currency these days.

 

 

 

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