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2 Japanese arrested in million-dollar bill scam.

MANILA, Sept. 24 Kyodo

They just don't make counterfeit money like they used to.

Two Japanese nationals have been arrested for trying to buy 10 million dollars in American Express Co. travelers checks using million-dollar notes, a Philippine crime task force said Friday.

Arrested Wednesday were Makoto Ito and Akira Hishijima, along with their Filipino companions Catalina Velasco and Braulio Cabarloc, the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force said.

The four are now in police custody at the Philippine National Police headquarters in metropolitan Manila pending the filing of criminal charges.

The task force said Cabarloc rang the American Express office on Monday to notify them of his intention to buy 10 million U.S. dollars worth of travelers checks to be paid in 10 bills of 1 million dollars each. He arranged to pick up the checks from the office later in the week.

The American Express employee Cabarloc spoke with then called the U.S. Secret Service in Manila.

The U.S. Secret Service, in coordination with the task force, arranged a buy-bust operation against Cabarloc.

Cabarloc was with Ito, Hishijima and Velasco when he arrived at the American Express office to pick up the checks, the task force said.

Police officers flooded the office as soon as Ito and Hishijima paid with the counterfeit money, the task force said.

Counterfeiting charges are being prepared against the suspects, police sources said.

In the Philippines, forging foreign banknotes carries a penalty of six to eight years in prison and a fine of 2,000 pesos (50 dollars).
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Sep 27, 1999
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