How to Counterfeit $200 Million in Twenties (Not That You Should)

Saturday November 03, 2018 Written by Kane

The "go big or go home" refrain is generally only useful to the aerosol-deodorant set but, in the case of currency counterfeiter Frank Bourassa, adopting the philosophy ended up having some wild, unintended consequences.

Because he did go big. Two hundred million dollars worth of crisp, practically-indistinguishable-from-the-real-thing U.S. twenties with Andrew Jackson's face looking straight at you, daring you to tell him he isn't the real thing. Printing them involved $300,000 worth of outlay – including $125,000 alone on a four-colour Heidelberg offset printer. Getting the paper was a challenge. The three-parts-cotton-to-one-part linen paper recipe for U.S. currency stock is so well known that even muttering it under your breath is enough to summon the Secret Service to your door. The solution, improbably, was found in Switzerland. Whether they provided it out of disingenuousness or ignorance we don't seem to know.
Though the production details are fascinating, the whole story has some of the dimension of classic tragedy. Hubris, a fall from grace and a bittersweet ending. For that, you'll have to head to the feature in GQ by Wells Tower.