UPDATED: Fake prop money found circulating at Mattituck High School

Editor’s Note: This story was edited on Feb. 8.

After previously reporting on a potential counterfeit situation at Mattituck-Cutchogue Senior High School on Wednesday, Southold Police Department Chief Martin Flatley confirmed to The Suffolk Times a student was in possession of fake play money, not counterfeit $100 bills.

District officials initially alerted local law enforcement, parents and the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce of the situation, which Mr. Flatley said is no longer under investigation.

“All you had to do was read the front or the back of it and you can clearly see it was a prop for movies,” Mr. Flatley said.

The phrase “For Motion Picture Purposes” was stamped in big letters on the front of the bill and “In Prop we Trust” was written on the back, Mr. Flatley said. The police chief suspected the student purchased the fake money online, possibly on Amazon.

In a previous phone interview, District Superintendent Shawn Petretti said a student originally reported being shown “a significant amount of larger bills” by other students.

“The student was not trying to hold it out as real money or try to purchase anything or deceive anybody,” Mr. Flatley said. “They were just showing [the bills] off to friends, somebody saw it, made mention of it, one thing led to another and the school got involved.”

After the school district reached out to them, the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce sent out an email blast to local business owners telling them to report any counterfeit $100 bills to police.

Terry McShane, chamber president, said he had not heard from the school district since the initial communication from the superintendent, but was relieved to hear the money was not counterfeit.

“Whether it turned out to be just a mistake, I’m glad Mr. Petretti called us because had we not known that, we wouldn’t have been aware of it,” Mr. McShane said. “If something like that were true, it could’ve caused some serious financial harms on local businesses.”

A similar incident occurred a few years ago in the district where a student used fake money at a school store, Mr. Petretti said. The superintendent continued to emphasize the importance of educating students and parents about the implications counterfeit currency possession.

“We want to commend the students that brought this to our attention and we were able to get involved and intercede before children were trying to utilize this money, which of course, would have created a far bigger issue for those students,” Mr. Petretti said. “Certain students were proactive in letting the administration know and then the administration was able to, in turn, be proactive.”