Ken Leckliter feels like he has been robbed, after choosing the "cash back" option at the Oak Ridge Walmart and getting a $100 counterfeit bill instead.
"It was two days before Christmas," he said. "It couldn't have happened at a worse time. It's frustrating."
He did not notice the money was fake at first. He was at the checkout counter with a long line of holiday shoppers behind him.
"You don't think you need to check the money. You figure that since it's coming from Walmart, it'd be real. You never think about something like that being fake. You just don't. You just don't."
According to police, these crimes happen more often than one might think.
"It's a common issue," Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi said. "You could call it ongoing. It's the same theme with different variations."
Just this week, the Williamsburg Police Department issued a warning about counterfeit money in their area, with the bill used in the Oak Ridge incident looking oddly familiar.
"There were Chinese markings in an odd color and that is obviously not what U.S. money is printed with," Akagi said.
Chief Akagi said there are steps one can take to prevent being a victim of counterfeit crimes.
"The first thing you should do is when you receive large bills, you should examine them," Akagi said. "Take a quick look at them and check for anything out of the ordinary. We handle money all the time and it's almost routine to us but when it's a large bill, you need to take just a minute to look and see if there's any foreign markings on them and if the color's off or if the texture of the paper is a little different."
Leckliter did not spot the markings on his bill until he stepped away from the Walmart cashier, which kept him from getting a refund.
Now three weeks later, he wants justice and hopes his story will serve as a lesson for others.
"I hope that no one else has to go through this, because it is pretty sad," Leckliter said.
Oak Ridge police are investigating the incident. Once that investigation is complete, the department says it will hand the case over to the U.S. Secret Service.
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