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THEY START YOUNG, DON'T THEY?: Fake cash doesn't pay, LCC boys find
Thursday, October 14, 2004
A Grade 9 student at Lower Canada College began trafficking in counterfeit currency to pay off thousands of dollars in gambling debts and involved at least a dozen students in his illegal scheme before school officials busted them last week.
A core group of four Grade 9 and 10 students were involved in trading and exchanging about $12,000 in counterfeit $10 bills.
The four have permanently withdrawn from the exclusive English private school on Royal Ave. in Notre Dame de Grace.
Another Grade 9 student has been suspended for one week for lending money to a friend to pay off his gambling debts and for circulating counterfeit money. Four other boys who admitted to handling the bogus cash served a one-day, in-school suspension that included counselling. Asked why they did it, the students uniformly said it was "cool."
On Tuesday, LCC headmaster Paul Bennett assembled his students to tell them it's possible to be cool - and still have the courage to do what is right.
"Very few of the students realized the significance of what they were doing, but they've had a rude awakening," Bennett said in an interview yesterday.
The counterfeit ring was exposed after the chance arrest Sept. 30 of a Grade 9 LCC boy in a park in Mount Royal borough.
Police were patrolling the area because of a rash of break-ins, Montreal police communications official Melissa Carroll said. When the boy bolted after seeing a police cruiser, police caught him and found 42 fake $10 bills in his wallet.
Charges are still pending. The matter has been handed over to the fraud squad, Carroll said.
Once they were tipped off, school officials began interviewing students and discovered the fake cash had been traded on school property.
It's not clear how the boys obtained the counterfeit cash, which was of very poor quality. The scheme was a miserable failure, according to Bennett, who said the boys paid $3 for each counterfeit $10 bill and tried to sell each bill for $5, but had difficulty getting their price.
Bennett said he was stunned to also discover that several boys had run up substantial debts through Internet gambling and wagering on sports.
The most valuable commodity I know of is information
RE:THEY START YOUNG, DON'T THEY?: Fake cash doesn't pay, LCC boys find
Damn, being a parent today is tough. Now I need to teach my kids how to not only make good counterfeits, but how to pass them too. Man, if I knew it was going to be this tough...