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”.


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.


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.

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.


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”


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.


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.


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.


Henry Sapiecha

Smart label helping beat counterfeiters

China-based company WaliMai has developed RFID-based anti-counterfeit labels that are fixed to a product to let consumers know for certain that it is genuine. Matthew Stock reports.

Smart label helping beat counterfeiters

STORY: Counterfeiting in China is big business. Knock-off goods range from designer handbags and cosmetics, to food and medicines. The 2008 tainted milk scandal caused domestic consumers to be wary of made-in-China milk products, leading to a rise in imports from the West. Those imports became a prime target for counterfeiters. The WaliMai anti-counterfeit label aims to help parents know for sure their baby formula is genuine. SOUNDBITE (English) ALEXANDER BUSAROV, CO-FOUNDER & CEO OF WALIMAI, SAYING: “The way it works for the consumer is that they come to the shop, they take their mobile phone, they touch the label with their mobile phone. It takes about 2 seconds for the confirmation and re-writing of the codes. And then the first piece of information that they get is that it’s actually authentic. Then to add on to that there’s all the information on the logistic supply chain so they can see where the product was produced, where it was packed, where it entered the country that they’re in – in our case it’s China – when it was checked in our warehouse, and also they can see their own scan.” WaliMai says they have ‘banking-level’ security inside. The embedded RFID chip has a re-writable memory, changing with every scan. They say this makes it virtually impossible to counterfeit. Each label is single use; and is destroyed when the product is opened. SOUNDBITE (English) ALEXANDER BUSAROV, CO-FOUNDER & CEO OF WALIMAI, SAYING: “There’s an antenna within the label which gets torn and it’s very difficult to put it back together; you basically need a lab for that which acts as a deterrent for a counterfeiter to actually deal with it.” WaliMai’s smart label will soon be used on bottles of alcohol – another sector battling Chinese counterfeiters. The company hopes the technology could one day help tackle the huge global problem of counterfeit pharmaceuticals.


Henry Sapiecha

Fake Chinese-marked money used in Australian scam


Fake Australian bank notes bearing Chinese characters are being used in a scam in Darwin, according to police.

Several pubs have been given imitation $A100 (£57; $74) currency since Sunday, Northern Territory Police said.

The notes, designed to train bank tellers in China, can be bought cheaply online.

Police said six of seven known scams had been carried out by the same man and woman, usually to buy cigarettes, alcohol and to receive change.

The Chinese words roughly translate to: “Training Money. Sample. Only for practice. Circulation forbidden.”

The pair collects change from the transaction before quickly leaving the scene,” said Acting Senior Sergeant Glenn Leafe.

Police said the deception was foiled at one venue on Monday night.

“Upon examining the note, staff challenged the pair who fled the store,” Sgt Leafe said.

Police have urged locals to check currency as a search for the perpetrators continues.


Henry Sapiecha

Fake Silver Coins: 13 Ways to Spot Counterfeits

real-vs-fake-silver-eagle image

It is unfortunate that articles like this have to be written,
but where there is money trading hands, there will always be fakes, frauds, and counterfeits.

If you have purchased some silver and can’t get rid of that little voice in your head that keeps saying what if they are fake silver coins …

Below are 13 ways on how to spot fake silver eagles, bars, and bullion. We’ve ranked them from the least to the most effective methods in detecting counterfeits. (Most of these tests can also be applied to gold as well)

1. Magnetic Test

While many fakes can easily pass this test, silver as well as gold bullion for that matter are both non-magnetic. If a bullion coin or bar sticks to a magnet you can easily throw this one out. Fakes that are produced with any iron or steel content in them will give off some magnetic attraction and identify itself as a fake. Metals that have a core of zinc, copper, lead or other non-magnetic metal will not be detected by this test.

The stronger the magnet the better, a neodymium magnet (grade N52) should be able to detect any iron or steel based metal. Be careful these magnets are extremely strong, fun to play with too! If it sticks it tricks.

neodymium-silver-test image

2. Magnetic Slide Test

Continuing on with magnets, another test you can to spot counterfeit silver is using a magnetic slide. Simple and easy to build, this is a fun way to instantly spot fakes without any complicated testing.

How it works: even though silver is non-magnetic it has a property known as diamagnetism. This causes silver to repel when in contact with a magnetic field. So real silver moving down a magnetic slide will move slower than fake silver. A fake will move down the slide with no resistance. Check out the video below, it’s actually pretty cool:

3. The Ice Test

Cheap and easy to do, getting some ice from the freezer is a simple way to test both silver coins and bars for authenticity. All you need to do is place the ice on the silver and watch.

The ice should begin to melt immediately, this is because silver is the best conductor of heat for all the metals. Below is a chart on thermal conductivity amongst popular metals. You will see that silver tops them all even including copper which is the most popular metal to use. This makes it extremely useful in electronics and as an industrial metal, check out 101 uses of silver, and you will see how useful this metal really is!

metal-conductivity-chart image

Check out how fast silver will melt ice compared to a regular pan:

4. Dimensions Test

This type of test only applies to bullion coins from government mints. Since the most popular is the American Silver Eagle, we will take a look at that particular coin. You can view the specs of the Silver Eagle below:

silver-eagle-specs image

The best way to take advantage of this is by using a good digital electronic scale. You will want to get a scale that measures at least to 2 decimal points in grams. Here is the one that I use, you can buy it on Amazon for about $11.

digital electronic scale image

Silver Eagles have a minted weight of 1 Troy oz. ~ 31.103 grams. Another easy give away is the diameter of the coin, this should be pretty exact at ~40.6mm. To check this you will want a good set of calipers. A nice digital entry-level set is this one. If you want to get the top of the line calipers go with the brand Mitutoyo.

When weighing your coins, be sure to account for a certain tolerance or variance in the weight. There is no official guideline given, but anything from 31.1g – 31.8g should be OK. If you are getting readings of 30g or 32g+ that is reason for concern.

Another tool to test for the dimensions of the American Silver Eagle is The Fisch. It can correctly verify the weight, thickness, diameter, and shape of 4 different coins. It also can check for the Canadian Maple Leaf, the Austrian Vienna Philharmonic, and the US Silver Dollar (1840-1935). At $169 though, overpriced in my opinion, as a basic digital scale and good set of calipers will do the same. My magnetic slide at $39 is a much better deal

silver-fisch coin tester image

5. Visual Test

Silver has a distinctive look and feel to the coin not too shiny and not too cloudy. Grab an old magnifier, the one’s that jeweler’s use, and take a good look at the coin. It’s always best to have an authentic coin or bar next to the one you are examining. Mismatched surfaces, text spacing, crevices, or edges will stand out if it is a fake.

Your tool of choice for this test is a handy magnifying glass or a jeweler’s loupe. A loupe if a special magnifying glass without the handle with higher magnification due to its special lens. These are essential to the world of coin collecting & numismatics, making it easier to grade the quality as well as identify counterfeit coins such as fake silver dollars.

You can pick one up pretty cheap on Amazon for about $5. Just be sure to get one at least 10x the magnification. Looking at enough real silver eagles, will give you a trained eye to easily spot the fakes.

loupe magnifier image

A dead giveaway is the edges of the coin or reeding. If there are no grooves or reeds, there is a 99.9% chance it is a fake since minted coins non-reeded (errors) are extremely rare. Examine where the coin meets the rim and between the reeds, sometimes silver-plated coins will not fill these in and with a proper magnifying glass they will be detected.

Below we have a real vs. fake American silver eagle. By using the visual test, you can identify several red flags to weed out the counterfeit eagles. Having the same minted year will help with minor differences that may occur between each strike. You can see font differences alone on both the obverse and reverse should be enough to spot the fake. (Ignore the glossy and mirror finishes).

real-vs-fake-silver-eagle image

Here we have the reverse, again font differences stand out especially the tail on the “U”. The missing ‘veins’ on the feathers and leaves are another big giveaway on this fake.

For silver eagles, pay special attention to the fonts: letters, numbers, upper/lowercase. Note: the US mint changed the font in 2008 so 1987-2007 coins and 2008 – present have a different font. Also the ‘veins’ on the feathers and leaves on the back side.

This is by no means exhaustive and depending on the producer, different fakes will leave different red flags. You can only assume as time goes by, these counterfeit rings will get better and better, so be diligent.

real-vs-fake-silver-american-eagle-coin image

6. Bleach Test

Another cheap and simple way to test for real silver vs. fake is to use some household bleach. Silver will tarnish very fast when exposed to any sort of oxidizing chemical like bleach. All you will need is just 1 drop, place it on the silver and if it begins to turn black then you can check it is silver. If your coin has numismatic value of any sort, this test may reduce its premium and you may want to perform another test. (Silver-plated items will also pass this test)

bleach bottle image

7. Ping Test

The great thing about silver is that it has a certain high-pitched ring to it when struck with another metal, many people refer to this as the ping test and it works fairly well. To do this, simply place one silver coin on your fingertip and take another between your thumb and forefinger and gently tap your coin. It should produce a nice high-pitched bell ring.

Silver Eagle Coin Ping Test – 6145 Hz

The neat thing about this test is that silver rings at a certain frequency of about 6145 Hz. Watch the video below to hear the difference between a real vs. fake American silver eagle.

Caveat: While the ping test is a great method to check for fake silver bars or coins, it is not foolproof. You will always want to combine this with the magnetic slide and dimensions test.


8. Buy From Reputable Dealers

If you are buying silver coins or bars on ebay or craigslist, there is a higher probability that you will encounter a fake. A little common sense will go a long ways! While there may be deals to snatch up there, it may be best to go with a licensed & reputable dealer even if the premium is slightly higher. If you are looking to buy junk silver from ebay, you can get their melt values using our US Coin Value Calculator.

Here are some silver scam identifiers on ebay, watch out for these fraud keywords:

Silver-Plated – Like it says, this is any base-metal with a silver plating on the outside to fool the naked eye.

100 mills – This word is deceptive, it is stating the measurement of the thickness of the silver plate. They can even state 99.9% silver since the plate is pure silver. Just another fancy word for silver or gold-plated.

Silver Clad – Just read the definition of clad: to bond a metal to (another metal), especially to provide with a protective coat. Yes, again silver-plated.

Replica or Copy – If this word is in the title or description you can be sure that it is not pure silver.

Nickel Silver – While this has a silver appearance, it has a composition of 60% copper, 20% nickel, and 20% zinc. You can read more about it here.

German Silver – Another term for nickel silver, see above.

ebay-fake-silver image

We recommend the following 3 online bullion dealers, just remember to do your own due diligence:

bgasc-logo image www.scamsfakes.comapmex logo image www.scamsfakes.comlogo-silvertowne logo image

Be sure to read our gold and silver dealer user reviews, and please leave feedback if you have bought from any of these dealers!

9. The Specific Gravity Test

These next 4 tests are highly accurate in determining real vs. fake. The specific gravity test of silver is basically a ratio of densities and due to its chemical & composition makeup should equal ~ 10.49, given by the formula below:
Specific Gravity of Silver
This test will weed out those silver-plated or clad coins if they have a composition of some other base metal. You cannot change the density of metal and pure silver will always give a reading close to 10.49. To calculate this perform the steps below:

  1. Obtain dry weight of the silver coin or bar with an accurate scale to .01g
  2. Use a cup of water enough to fully submerge the silver into and measure its weight or reset the scale with it on.
  3. Tie some string around the coin and setup an apparatus to hold the coin
  4. Submerge the silver into the water and record the submerged weight minus the weight of the water & cup.
  5. Divide the dry weight by the submerged weight to obtain the specific gravity of silver

Be warned: Sophisticated counterfeiters also have ways of combining certain metals together to get a similar specific gravity readout. Using this test together with the ring test & visual test should be able to detect these types of fakes.

Homemade specific gravity testing of silver below:

specific-gravity-of-silver image

10. The Acid Test

Another test with high accuracy, this test uses acid solution usually of nitric acid and muriatic acid. You will have to purchase this from a dealer or on amazon. Just search for silver acid testing kit or puritest. You will also want to get a testing stone to use with the solution.

silver testing acid image

While this test can immediately verify pure silver, it will damage the coin. So it is best to use this is you bought a lot of coins or bars and want to test 1-2 for purity.

These are dangerous chemicals and should not be done by children. Always wear goggles and gloves when performing the test. Do not use on numismatics, this will lower the value of the coin.

If you suspect the outside is silver-plated, you may need to file through an edge to get to the center metal in order to test. Once the acid is placed, pure silver will stay a certain color, while fake silver will turn a different color depending on the metal used to counterfeit. This test is also really useful for testing sterling silver if you’re not sure that platter you bought at the goodwill is 925

acid-test-silver image

11. XRF Analyzers

If you’re serious about silver or maybe ultra paranoid, you may consider investing in a portable or handheld XRF Analyzer. XRF is short for X-ray fluorescence, and is used not only in detecting precious metals but all sorts of metal alloys, mining samples, environmental assessments etc …

niton-xl2 silver analyser image

These handheld device are just like scanners, point and shoot, and the device will give an accurate readout of the metal composition. If you’re interested in getting one of these cool little toys, 2 companies that make them are Niton and Bruker. Be warned these are extremely pricey can run over $10,000 and are usually carried only by gold/silver bullion or jeweler shops.

12. Ultrasonic Thickness Test

If XRF analyzers are out of your price range, but you still want a scientific tool to determine real vs. counterfeit silver, an ultrasonic thickness gauge may be for you.

What this test does is measure how long it takes for sound to travel through a metal object, in our case silver. If your bar is pure silver, it will give an accurate reading, if it is a mix of metals, the reading will be off. For different metals, you will get different readouts of thickness. This is also a great way to test for fake gold coins and bars.

The speed of sound for silver is 3650 meters/second at room temperature.
You can check the speed of sound of other metals here. Gold is 3240 m/s.

ultrasonic-thickness-gauge silver tester image

Here’s how this works:

  1. Set the device to a velocity of 3,650
  2. Measure the silver bar with a proper caliper
  3. Place a dab of glycerin on the bar where you will measure the thickness
  4. Measure the thickness with the sensor
  5. Readout thickness should match the actual thickness of the bar (in mm)

This works really well for large silver bars or ingots. If the bar is plated in silver/gold it will give an inaccurate thickness tipping you off that the silver is counterfeited with some other metal. From here you could perform a few other tests to confirm your suspicion.

If you are a regular buyer of silver bars this maybe the tester for you as you can buy an entry-level gauge for several hundred dollars unlike the expensive XRF analyzers. Here is one for less than $200 on Amazon. Perhaps a wise investment.

The video below shows a demonstration of how to properly perform this test:

13. Fire Assay

If you are still testing for purity here, you probably shouldn’t be in the industry buying silver  With that said, probably the most sure-fire way on how to test for silver purity and avoid fake silver bullion is through fire assay. With one caveat, this is also the most destructive test as well.

Unfortunately for this test you will need a melting furnace, special cupels, pinchers, etc … The degree of accuracy is uncanny, as when testing bullion products you can have accurate parts of 1 in 10,000! If you fancy to learn more about this procedure you can read about it here.

fire-assay-molten silver image

If you have other ways to test for silver, please let us know or leave us a comment and we will be sure to include them!

This article was sourced from >>


The below videos were sourced from >>

Ping test for gold >> Gold Eagle Coin Ping Test – 4498 Hz



How are these fake bullion products being produced?

There are basically two methods being utilized in fake gold and silver coin and bar production:

– There are plated gold and silver coins and bars, consisting of a thin layer of gold or silver covering base metal alloys underneath.

– Then there are hallowed out gold and silver bars and coins with thicker covers of gold and or silver, filled with tungsten, lead, copper, and or nickel.


Henry Sapiecha