Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill into law making counterfeiting illegal in Ohio. The use of fake money is a federal crime, but it was never outlawed on the state level until now.
Lawmakers see this as another tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
Republican state Rep. Rick Perales says federal law enforcement have been inundated with counterfeiting cases. He says making it illegal on the state level allows county prosecutors to go after offenders while federal agents can focus on bigger cases.
Perales says in the past, those offenders would’ve been charged with other crimes like forgery but they wouldn’t stick.
“The bad guys kept getting out of jail and Ohio had really gotten to be known as a safe haven for counterfeiters,” says Perales.
Law enforcement agencies say the large majority of counterfeit money is used to buy drugs. They say this crackdown will hopefully deliver a blow to opioid dealers.