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Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment is adapting the true story of Albert Talton, a resident of Lawndale, Calif., who counterfeited $7 million of high-quality currency on a series of commercial inkjet printers that he bought from the office-supplies store Staples.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Overbrook’s Michael Ross will adapt the story, based on an article in the now-defunct Details magazine.

Below, more about Talton’s method of counterfeiting from a November 2009 article in Wired magazine:

When Talton set out to circumvent the US Treasury’s security measures, he had no experience in counterfeiting, graphic design or printing, and he didn’t even own a computer.

His first attempts were made with a Hewlett-Packard all-in-one inkjet printer/scanner/fax/photocopier, which could be picked up at the time for less than $150. Early experiments, printed on regular paper, were fuzzy, so he cleaned up the original image on a computer. But there was a problem, Talton says: “It wouldn’t take the mark.”

Counterfeit-detection pens mark yellow on genuine currency but brown or black on fake. Talton didn’t know why. At first he thought the Treasury treated the paper, so he experimented with chemicals he found at the garage and even tried dipping his notes in fabric softener. Nothing worked.

Frustrated, he began to take a detection pen everywhere he went, trying it on any paper he came across. He was about to give up when one day, in the toilet, he found himself staring at the roll of tissue. He took out the pen: the mark showed up yellow.

Talton discovered that toilet paper, Bibles, dictionaries and newsprint are all made from the same recycled paper pulp, and all take the yellow mark. Newsprint is strong, and it has an additional advantage for the large-scale buyer: as Talton puts it, “Newsprint is real cheap.”

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5 thoughts on “Will Smith To Adapt True Story Of Counterfeiter Who Used Inkjet Printers To Print $7M

  1. RENO2AC on said:

    I watched this story on one of my favorite shows, “American Greed.” They actually had to leave out some of the details of the counterfeiting operation as not to breed a new generation. Too bad that some people don’t use their “talents” for good.

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