Movie Money: Prop cash used as actual currency in Las Cruces

Photo of fake bill used in movies

Photo courtesy LCPD

Monday afternoon, law enforcement issued a warning to merchants and Las Cruces area residents of movie prop money that is being passed as actual currency.
According to the Las Cruces Police Department, over the last weekend they received two reports of movie prop money that was passed as legal tender. Las Cruces police have identified movie prop money in $20 denominations in two separate cases filed over the weekend.

“It’s common for movie prop money to be in larger denominations including $50 and $100 bills,” LCPD officials shared.
“Movie prop money can have the same look as actual currency but, in most instances, does not have the same texture as actual cash. Prop money is intended to be used on camera so there is no need for the texture to feel like legitimate cash.”
Officials added that movie prop money bills usually have slightly smaller dimensions than actual currency.
“The Las Cruces Police Department strongly encourages merchants and residents to carefully inspect all denominations of currency before completing a cash transaction,” officials added.
Movie prop money, though it looks authentic from afar, normally has wording that identifies it as fake currency.

For example, print on movie prop money usually reads:

  • “For Motion Picture Use Only” along the top, front-face of the bill. The word, “Copy” is normally printed on both sides of the bill.
  • “This Note Is Not Legal Tender” or “For Motion Picture Use Only” is normally printed on at least one side of the bill.
  • Often times the president’s name is omitted or changed.
  • Serial numbers are often the same on all movie prop money.  

Officials point out that while it is not illegal to possess movie prop money, using movie prop money or any illegal currency could be classified as a felony offense or a federal crime depending on its use.
Anyone who receives suspected prop money or illegally manufactured bills as actual currency should call police immediately at (575) 526-0795

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