Don't be fooled by fake toonies: RCMP seizes thousands of fakes with a botched polar bear 'claw'

·2-min read
Counterfeit Toonies: The genuine coin on the left versus the counterfeit on the right. Genuine: Fine details of the bear's paws. 2a: The polar bear's paw is misshapen.

A Richmond Hill man is facing charges after RCMP identified and seized 10,000 counterfeit toonies.

The charges stem from an investigation dating back to last summer, when the Royal Canadian Mint discovered an ongoing counterfeit currency problem through their random sampling process. From there, the Greater Toronto Area's Trans-National Serious and Organized Crime Section opened an investigation that focused on finding those who were involved in the circulation of the faulty coins.

During this time, Mounties seized about 10,000 fake two-dollar coins, which had been distributed in the banking system and had one specific detail flaw that distinguished them from real coins. The main way to identify these counterfeit coins is the split-toe on the right front paw of the Polar Bear side of the coin, which instead resembles a claw.

Daixiong He, 68, is charged with uttering counterfeit money and possession of counterfeit money. He was arrested and released on an undertaking but is set to appear in a Newmarket court on June 2.

"The unique features on Canada's circulation coins make them among the most secure in the world and allowed these counterfeit pieces to be identified and removed from circulation quickly,” James Malizia, Vice-President of Corporate Security at the Royal Canadian Mint said in a release. “The Royal Canadian Mint will continue to work closely with financial institutions and the RCMP to ensure the integrity of Canada's coin supply."

The Bank of Canada has some pointers on what to do if you’re dealing with suspicious money.

  • During a transaction, if you suspect you've been handed suspicious currency, politely refuse it and explain that you suspect it may be counterfeit.

  • Then, ask for another note (be sure to check it too).

  • Advise the person to check the note with local police.

  • Inform your local police of a possible attempt to pass suspected counterfeit money.

  • Be polite. The person in possession of the bill could be an innocent victim who does not realize that the note is suspicious.

  • If you think you’ve been handed a counterfeit note after a transaction, give it to local police.

  • If it’s real, you’ll get it back.

  • It’s important to report these instances to authorities to help them bring counterfeiters to justice.