PORTLAND, Ore. — A growing number of police agencies and local businesses are complaining about the proliferation of prop money sold online. The bills marked “PROP MONEY” or “For Motion Picture Use Only” look like real cash, but the money is fake.
In April, police arrested Brandon Wintringham of Portland after he bought a $1,600 motorcycle from another man using bogus $100 bills.
A friend and former roommate said Wintringham bought the prop money online. Wintringham wasn’t available for comment.
“Amazon! He ordered the money from Amazon,” said Rocky, who asked not to use his last name. “I signed for it. It was from Amazon.”
A search of “prop money” on Amazon turned up dozens of listings from third-party sellers. The ads feature detailed images of movie money or play money, including $100, $50 and $20 bills.
Prop money qualifies as counterfeit under federal law, according to the U.S. Secret Service. Trying to pass movie money off as real is illegal.
It’s not clear why Amazon allows counterfeit tender to be sold.
In May, police in Florence, Oregon took multiple reports of counterfeit $20 bills being passed at a local festival. The bills were marked “Replica” and “For Motion Picture Use Only.”
Newport police also issued a warning about counterfeit $100 and $200 bills in May after business owners came across the bogus money.
“Unfortunately, these fake bills are easily available to purchase online,” wrote Newport Police posted on its Facebook page.
KGW has attempted to reach Amazon by email six different times for comment. So far, the online retailer has not provided an official response or explanation of why it continues to sell prop money.