The Riverton City Council passed an ordinance on first reading this week making it illegal to use counterfeit money in town.
City administrator Kyle Butterfield said the law will help address a problem local business owners recently identified and reported to the Riverton Police Department and Fremont County Attorney’s Office.
“Essentially, there are individuals that are printing counterfeit currency from the internet and then trying to pass it as legal tender,” he told the council during a regular meeting Tuesday, noting that the incidents usually involve “smaller-denomination bills.”
Mayor Tim Hancock said those small bills are unlikely to attract the attention of the U.S. Secret Service – the agency responsible for investigating counterfeit currency.
“They have an office that’s not really local here,” Hancock explained. “If they were going to come up and investigate, it (has to be) worth their while, and a $20 bill, generally speaking, isn’t.”
Local prosecutors can use state theft statutes to pursue charges against people suspected of using counterfeit money, Hancock said, but having a city ordinance in place will make the law “a lot easier to enforce and prove.”
The city can still report local offenses to the Secret Service, Butterfield said, “especially if we’re finding that it’s a significant problem,” but he agreed that the new ordinance will “provide a little bit of local control” over the issue as well.
For more information call the City of Riverton at 856-2227.