Couple Arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport with $5 Million in Fake Cash

a pile of paper money
image: Wikimedia Commons

A couple was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for trying to bring close to $5 million in fake money into the country.

The Vietnamese couple was flying in on a flight from South Korea when “they made conflicting statements about whether or not they were carrying over $10,000 in cash“, according to Travel + Leisure.

They were then searched with officials finding a huge haul of counterfeit US and Vietnamese currency. However, there’s a bit of a catch…

I can’t say that I’ve heard of this kind of money before, but T+L mentions that “The money was so-called “hell money” or “spirit money”, paper currency printed on joss paper and specifically intended to be burnt as an offering to the dead to help ease their way in the afterlife“.

The couple says that they planned to use their fake money at a funeral. (Spirit money is for sale in the US and can even be bought from sites like Amazon.)

So did the couple break any US laws by bringing in fake money they planned to burn?

The answer is yes. T+L mentions that it’s highly unlikely any shop or bank would’ve mistaken the money as being real. However, its illegal to import fake money regardless of intent.

There is no mention of what kind of fine the couple might face but the fake money was seized. Could the penalty possibly just be $5 million…. in play money?!

Find out more from Travel + Leisure here.

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