Five Greek teenagers were brought before the main court of Rhodes last week to answer for allegedly supplying, possessing, and distributing counterfeit money. The investigation into the counterfeit money circulating on Rhodes began in September 2018 but has taken until now to come to a head.
Counterfeit bills found in Rhodes stores
On the September 5, 2018, the owner of a tobacco shop in downtown Rhodes called the police to report the use of counterfeit money in his store. He claimed that a young man had come into his store earlier that day and paid for two separate transactions worth €14 ($16) and €22 ($26) with two €50 ($60) banknotes. The notes purportedly bore the same serial number and were obviously counterfeit.
The next day another individual, the owner of a tourist goods store, phoned the police to report a similar incident which also occurred on the 5th. According to his account, two young men had come into his store, purchased something worth just €3 ($3.62), and paid with a €50 ($60) note which appeared to be fake.
Police were able to confirm that the money involved in both incidents bore the same serial number. More reports began to flood in, mostly from convenience stores, tourist shops and kiosks.
The teenagers purportedly used eight of the counterfeit notes they had purchased, collecting up to €400 ($482) of real money in change.
Investigation on Rhodes
The five teenagers allegedly involved in the case have been brought before the main court of Rhodes to apologize for their actions. The lead investigator of the case was present.
The parents of the two 16-year-olds who were allegedly most actively involved in obtaining the counterfeit money are being accused of neglecting to supervise minors.
When investigators searched the homes of the individuals involved, counterfeit notes were found in the two 16-year-olds’ homes. Ten counterfeit notes were found in the first home and 15 in the second. All were confiscated by police.
Dark web counterfeit money
The counterfeit money which was found to be circulating throughout Rhodes was eventually traced back to the dark web. The dark web is an area the internet that cannot be accessed using conventional search engines, and often requires special software and intimate knowledge of the web to navigate.
Two of the 16-year-olds involved in the case are accused of ordering the counterfeit money off the dark web. The currently-unknown seller sent them 40 counterfeit €50 ($60) notes, totaling €2,000 ($2,414) worth of counterfeit euros.
The teenagers allegedly paid €300 ($362) for the notes, using Bitcoin to complete the transaction.
One of the 16-year-olds allegedly received the counterfeit notes from a courier and distributed them to his peers. He is accused of distributing 25 notes to the other 16-year-old who was involved in navigating the dark web. The other notes were allegedly sold to a third 16-year-old as well as a 15 and 17-year-old.