OPELOUSAS, La. (KPEL News) - Businesses in the Opelousas area are now safer from fraud after the United States Secret Service and the Opelousas Police Department helped put a local counterfeiter behind bars for quite a while.

Opelousas PD began investigating after a suspected counterfeit $20 bill was passed at a local donut shop on or about August 24, 2022. Investigators say 33-year-old Gabriel Bates of Opelousas was the culprit.

unsplash via Giorgio Trovato
unsplash via Giorgio Trovato

Turns out, the Secret Service had been conducting their own separate counterfeit investigation before the incident at the donut store, with Bates being a suspect. Five days after that incident, officers searched Bates' home and seized numerous counterfeit bills of $20 and $100. Then, as he was being arrested, officers say they found an additional counterfeit $20 bill and handwritten instructions for manufacturing counterfeit currency in his pocket!

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Bates admitted to law enforcement agents to manufacturing the counterfeit money and passing them in several locations throughout the Opelousas area. He pleaded guilty to counterfeiting on April 12, 2023.

This week, U.S. District Judge Robert R. Summerhays sentenced Bates to two years and two months in prison, followed by three years of probabtion.

How You Can Identify Counterfeit Bills

U.S. currency is printed with many security features designed to make it difficult to counterfeit, but could you spot a counterfeit bill if you saw one. Here is a look at some ways you can easily identify fake money thanks to uscurrency.gov.


More From News Talk 96.5 KPEL