Counterfeiters Passing Fake $100 Bills in Independence

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Police in Independence are asking residents to keep an eye out for some smooth-talking counterfeiters who have been passing bogus $100 bills - and who have ripped off at least one person through Craigslist.

Todd Willoughby says that he was scammed by counterfeiters two weeks ago after he placed an ad on Craigslist offering to sell his 42" flat-screen television for $450. Willoughby says that a man called his cell phone, claiming that he wanted to buy the TV as a birthday present for his wife.

When Willoughby met the would-be buyer at an Independence McDonald's parking lot, he says that the man gave him four $100 bills, then took off with the TV.

"The money seemed fine," said Willoughby. "It was dark. It was 9 p.m., 9:30 at night, so I helped him load the TV in the car...and we went our separate ways."

A few days later, when Willoughby tried to pay a $100 utility bill at an area grocery store, two police officers quickly handcuffed him, took him to jail and accused him of passing counterfeit money.

"Mad is a good way to explain it," said Willoughby, who says that he isn't going to be selling anything on Craigslist again anytime soon.

A spokesman for the Independence Police Department told FOX 4 that they have recently seen a spike in people trying to pass fake money around town. Meanwhile, Willoughby says that he just wants to put what he calls a true nightmare behind him.

"I don't feel like I'm able to trust anybody," said Willoughby.

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