Stripteasers at some adult entertainment clubs here are being short-changed as some of the patrons who go cheek-by-jowl with them pay with counterfeit currency, which then makes its way into wider circulation.
An investigation by Barbados TODAY revealed that persons are engaging in the illegal practice of printing two-dollar bills on home printers with which they pay the private dancers.
Given the poor lighting and the rushed nature of these transactions, the bogus bills are virtually undetectable at the time.
In addition to the dancers, local street vendors are also falling victim to the forged currency, as many have not invested in the counterfeit detection equipment. One such vendor who operates an after-hours burger and barbecue joint near a strip club in Maxwell, said he recently received $60 in counterfeit two dollar bills, which was only brought to his attention after he tried to deposit the cash at the bank.
According Sherrod Bailey, the women who perform at the club constitute a large chunk of his customer base.
“I run a food place not too far from that place [the strip club in Maxwell] and I open late to get the sale from the girls when they finish working and I get a lot of these two dollar bills. I never pay them no mind until two weeks ago I went by bank with them and near 60 [dollars] ah them was fake,” Bailey told Barbados TODAY.
While this did not represent a huge loss to his business, he was certainly surprised by the discovery, as up until that point he thought it was only necessary to scrutinize large bills.
“The bank told me they have to keep them and report it to the police. I couldn’t believe it. I would never expect to see fake two dollar bills. I told one of my friends who work at a gas station in the area and she told me that her boss had instructed them to check all bills because of that same problem with some of those small bills,” he added.
Public Relations Officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force Acting Inspector Roland Cobbler said he was aware of reports of this nature, but not in any great detail.
“I have not seen any of these [smaller] bills myself but I have heard of persons receiving smaller notes that were counterfeit. It is something we have to look at holistically. Persons would normally try to counterfeit large bills but if you have thousands of small bills could be just as devastating,” Cobbler said.
The police spokesman admonished big businesses to develop the culture of checking all bills and not just the large ones.
He also said the onus was on small businesses, especially street vendors, to invest in counterfeit detection equipment.
“Counterfeit money is a continuing occurrence and persons need to be mindful of the fact that persons will try to pass off counterfeit money as original money. Large businesses would of course have the money detectors to protect their business, but it is small vendors who are really left vulnerable. However it is in their [vendors] best interest to try and educate themselves with what to look for when it comes to counterfeit currency,” he said.
One strip club manager told Barbados TODAY he had acted to eliminate fake currency by insisting that patrons purchase club dollars with which to pay the dancers.
“We did notice a few fake dollars getting into the girls’ money, so we print our own club dollars every night and the guys pay the girls with those and they redeem their money at bar. Not only that [but] it is cleaner too because you wouldn’t want to know some of the strange places that some of the guys and women too, want to stick these bills,” said the manager, who spoke to Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity.