Confessions: Master Counterfeiter Prints a Fortune

Brian Ross tracks down a man who brags about making near-perfect $20 bills.
6:52 | 07/18/14

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Confessions: Master Counterfeiter Prints a Fortune
Country -- -- watch in tens of millions of dollars in fake money. It's turned up at a strip club in Peoria Illinois majority that was given to the dancers -- dances. -- this grocery store in Connecticut. He's very very frustrating -- this time it cost us money and that's this hot zones doing in new York city of Baghdad the red paper that the writing. Much of the counterfeit twenty dollar bills Andrew jacksons and most of them are not that -- with more than 3000 people arrested each year for doing. We are working hard here. I think -- being -- it is clear insult. For the last four year. US authorities have been quietly tracking the one counterfeiters who has produced a fake twenty dollar bill that is that -- -- described by authorities -- virtually undetectable. This is really get this history and -- and this is the man who says he did coming forward out of the shadows tonight on 20/20. Two unabashedly admit something that could put him in the US prison for years. His name is frank barajas. The world best -- -- right now the longer than meets me. We found the artful -- and a small town in Canada outside Montreal. It was here that the 44 year old -- a small time drug dealer with a big time passion for money the real -- when you kill the bill -- changes color says he secretly set up an operation. That would put him in the upper echelons of the criminal world was of the thrill. It was a -- -- -- that was supposed to not be possible and people like me you know we we thrive on that very much. -- people in the US government who print and safeguard the real twenty dollar bills have gone to great lengths to stop counterfeiters like frank -- But new security features added eleven years ago to the Clinton have not been updated and in fact -- -- says the Secret Service web site. Actually provided him a convenient road map to produce -- counterfeit Andrew Jackson's. I knew nothing more about bills -- you do. -- order from -- Step by step -- says he found suppliers on the Internet from Europe to China. That could provide the same security features and most of all the unique paper made of cotton and linen. Described in detail on that US Secret Service website. -- feel right now that if a -- units proved how did you get the right paper that's. Well. He -- that wasn't an undertaking. -- started by -- -- up a fake company that supposedly needed the special paper for corporate bonds. Then he -- this small paper mill in Germany to agree to make the special cotton paper with Lyndon shreds. Even adding and Andrew Jackson watermark I was surprised that to some extent American currency and not that hard to say to counterfeit the easiest of them -- and then it was shipped to Canada. Enough to make a quarter billion dollars worth of fakes according to Barack's win that shipment came in with all those ingredients what did you think -- -- that. Coolest thing on earth because the -- there once this is done. The rest is nothing. Lots of shopkeepers count on these anti counterfeit pens to detect fakes. A slash art X will produce a dark black line. This is a -- that's in there but as Canadian mounted police investigators -- Adams and -- Michelle -- but Ross's twenties easily passed that -- test it stays fairly light drag and if it was counterfeit it would -- legal -- Within months after -- began selling his counterfeit money in -- to criminal groups the -- started showing up in California Las Vegas Florida. And the northeast United States. I was being so let 30%. Thirty to Somalia -- like a million was 300000. We're closing everywhere for Barraza it was a complete victory over the US government it's a fight one so are always good. Was happy that it didn't bother your conscience at all not at all -- -- although the contrary it was an all. It was like -- all through you. But the real victims are not the US government but all the shopkeepers and consumers stuck with fake twenty dollar bills that the bank won't accept. That comes back to -- as a loss we lose that -- 500 dollars in bills. 500 dollars that we take ahead on what -- as usual. After twenty dollar bills tonight. Watching you who and 22 money. Which that they look for honestly don't know how to answer that it's because what you made was so -- here he it was good. And in the end it was for Ross's arrogance that caught up with him. Authorities began to track his every move. After an undercover agent in one of the criminal groups -- barrages counterfeit led them to -- small town. He was under constant surveillance even when he bought a -- at a convenience store. Then Canadian and American authorities moved it seizing his printing press is carefully crafted plates and about a million dollars worth of the -- twenty. It's this is gonna affect the Americans and it was important to get this right away get this off the street get it. Off the market. The mounted police investigators showed us how Wilbur -- bills matched up with many of the key details of the real twenties to detect -- and this -- very difficult this deal is very similar so if you close your eyes could you tell which is the real which is that they -- eyewitness. Even after his arrest -- -- is still had a card to play. Authorities did not know -- the rest of the fake bills and the papers in various stages of production was actually hidden. -- made them crazy. So Secret Service was year old and following me around all time sober roster was able to cut the deal of a lifetime for a criminal. Earlier this year he turned over stacks of boxes holding the ingredients for more than 200 million dollars in counterfeit money. And in return the Canadian government dropped -- of the charges against it and agreed not to ever send them to the US for prosecution. So you're safe from USA division you're safe from US -- -- -- fool who can do nothing about that. Canadian authorities say their investigation is far from over and that -- has ties to organized crime groups who they think he is still trying to protect. Evidence suggests. That there's more paper more stashes of paper more sessions of that counterfeit notes out there and there's more people involved. In the end -- spent only a month and a half and a local jail for counter fitting all that US currency. US Secret Service says there are now no charges against him and -- today is a free man -- you beat the system. Completely -- -- did you are the master -- that are of this stuff by air.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":24622764,"title":"Confessions: Master Counterfeiter Prints a Fortune","duration":"6:52","description":"Brian Ross tracks down a man who brags about making near-perfect $20 bills.","url":"/International/video/confessions-master-counterfeiter-prints-fortune-24622764","section":"International","mediaType":"Default"}