(BLOOMBERG) — It was the most popular counterfeit $100 bill in circulation, and for more than a decade its makers were a mystery to the U.S. Secret Service.
Agents collected and analyzed the fake greenbacks, which first popped up in Israel in the late 1990s. They were so good that they were often discovered only after they reached a bank or the Federal Reserve.
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So when Secret Service agent Adam Gaab came across four of the fake $100s on May 17, 2012, shortly after they had been detected at a Loan Max in Northern Virginia, he knew he had the rare chance to link a bill back to the person who passed it.
"It was the No. 1 note," said Ed Lowery, special agent in charge of the Secret Service's criminal investigation division. "You aggressively run out leads on the No. 1 note."