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Bank Note Forger boasted how counterfeit process was so easy he did it while relaxing at home in Australia

A SYDNEY man has pleaded guilty to making $1 million in counterfeit $50 notes, boasting he forced the Reserve Bank of Australia to redesign the nation’s bank note currency.

Benjamin Gillette-Rothschild, 34, claimed the process was so easy he did it while kicking back in a comfortable leather office chair.

With no apparent formal training, he made fake cash so close to the real thing the RBA admitted that most members of the public wouldn’t be able to spot the difference.

He has been sentenced to an ­undisclosed sentence, with Judge Garry Neilson in the Downing Centre District Court imposing a suppression order on most details of the case until “certain future events have eventuated”.

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One of these notes is the real deal, the other is 100 per cent fake. Scroll to bottom of article to see if you guessed right.

A set of agreed facts tendered in the case show Gillette-Rothschild pleaded guilty to eight charges relating to making counterfeit money and was sentenced on February 23. Exactly how he learnt as to making the fake notes cannot be ­devulged because of a court order.

An RBA spokesman did not ­respond to questions from The Sunday Telegraph about whether the design of any of Australia’s bank notes were changed in response to Gillette-Rothschild’s scheme.

The new version of the $5 note, which has more security features, was released on August 31, 2016, followed by the new $10 note on September 20, 2017. A brand newly designed Australian $50 note is scheduled to be released in October.

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Independently of the court case, The Sunday Telegraph viewed videos on the RBA’s website that detail how bank notes are made. The RBA did not respond to questions asking if the videos would be removed.

Gillette-Rothschild used fake names to buy three commercial printers for $80,000, thousands of dollars of UV ink and almost 200kg of specialised plastic film.

Three years after he made the counterfeit $50 Australian bank notes, authorities have clawed back almost $850,000, meaning there is still about $150,000 unaccounted for. The dollar amount equates to the RBA recovering 16,990 individual fake $50 bi­lls.

The figure is 81 per cent of the total number of counterfeit $50 notes seized in Australia in 2016-17.

gillette-rothschild-set-up-fake-companies-and-used-fake-names-to-buy-three-commercial-printers-uv-inks-and-196kg-of-propylene-film-image-www-scamsfakes-com

Gillette-Rothschild set up fake companies and used fake names to buy three commercial printers, UV inks and 196kg of propylene film.

When contacted, Gillette-­Rothschild’s lawyer Peter Katsoolis said: “My client was quite content with the result and accepts the court’s decision.”

The RBA’s counterfeit analysis team said in court documents that the fake notes were “high-quality ­reproductions” that “could only be produced using specialised equipment which required … specific skills and knowledge”.

The RBA also said the fake notes “simulated most overt features of genuine banknotes … and may not be detected as counterfeit by members of the public, even with close inspection”. His operation was slick and ­Gillette-Rothschild knew it.

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In a conversation with his co-­accused, Danqing Xu, on March 15, 2014, Gillette-Rothschild told his mate about “an article” he was reading, court documents said.

The ­article was about “changing 5s and 10s”, which the documents said was a reference to “the RBA needing to make changes to Australian bank note currency”

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A Roland LEC-330 printing machine was among the kit Gillette-Rothschild used to produce counterfeit Australian $50 bank notes.

Gillette-Rothschild said the ­article “related to the massive spike (in the seizure of counterfeit notes) in 2014”. Xu replied: “You should feel proud of yourself … f…ed up the economy hard … changing the largest island continent on Earth’s notes”.

­Gillette-Rothschild replied: “I am … I am proud”.

Gillette-Rothschild set up fake entities and used fake names to buy three commercial printers, UV inks and 196kg of propylene film between December 2013 and June 2014.

He then set to work on the scheme he later stated to police that “he was expecting to make a million dollars from”.

­Between March and July 2014, Gillette-Rothschild sent a series of text messages to several associates where he referred to “printing cheeseburgers” ($50 notes) and “making pizzas” (printing counterfeit money), court documents said.

On June 12, 2014, Gillette-­Rothschild sent a text to associates asking if they were interested in helping to speed up the operation by working on the printing of forged bank notes while he slept.

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The amateur counterfeit bank note printer/forger was busted only when he went to trade in equipment and a fake note was found inside a printer.

“(Gillette-Rothschild) said he had streamlined the process of pizza cooking and that it was ‘1 minute training’,” the court documents said.

“(He) said it was all done by sitting in a comfortable leather office chair.”

The 34-year-old also asked if ­another person would be interested in maintaining 12-hour shifts, so the printing could run 24/7..

Gillette-Rothschild initially set up the scheme using a commercial printer, which he bpurchased for $10,000 from a Hornsby printing business in December 2013. The Sunday Telegraph has agreed not to identify the model of printers used.

On February 7, 2014, he used a fake name to purchase a second printer, for $24,000, from a printing company in North Rocks.

Two weeks later he upgraded his equipment but also put the police on his tail thanks to a stupid careless mistake.

He traded in both printers and paid an extra $33,000 for a superior one. The salesman was cleaning out one of the trade-in printers when a clear plastic sheet featuring an “image of an Australian banknote” dropped out, court documents stated.

It was handed on to police.

The Australian Federal Police commenced Operation Arche in March 2015 after it received a referral from the RBA. Heavily armed ­police officers arrested Gillette-Rothschild on September 2, 2016, during a raid on at a house in Tregear.

Between May and June 2014, court documents said Gillette-Rothschild, using a false name and business name, bought and ordered more than $12,000 worth of UV inks from a commercial printing company in Rhodes.

And he placed an order for 196kg of polypropylene film over the phone with a national supplier between April and June 2014, the documents said.

After printing the $50 notes ­between March and July 2014, Gillette-Rothschild needed to convert the fake cash into genuine Australian currency.

The court documents said he flew four Korean nationals to Sydney. Each was given a suitcase containing up to $100,000 in counterfeit $50 bank notes and told to “get change at retail stores”, court documents stated.

However, on March 16, 2016, investigators intercepted a phone call ­between Gillette-Rothschild and Xu.

Gillette-Rothschild pleaded guilty to producing around $1 million in counterfeit $50 notes. Xu was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence on October 11, 2017, after being con­victed on a charge of giving information to counterfeit money.

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Genuine $50 dollar bill at top, the counterfeit below. The fake bill is paler, has not so square edges, only four stars in the window and embossing on the window is not there.

www.money-au.com

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Henry Sapiecha