Throughout the annals of history there have been individuals who have sought to deceive others by producing counterfeit versions of precious goods, and one of the most damaging of these items is counterfeit money. Counterfeit currency erodes the very foundations of trust and stability that underpin a healthy economy, causing people to question the authenticity of the currency they hold, while also causing inflation and loss of purchasing power, as well as loss of credibility of a country's financial institution in the global economy.
One of the most notable counterfeiters of the 20th century was the Portuguese criminal Alves dos Reis, who nearly wrecked the Portuguese economy by exploiting loopholes and poor practices in his country’s financial system. Unlike other criminals, Alves dos Reis’ genius was that he did not counterfeit Portuguese currency himself. Instead, his network managed to deceive a British banknote-producing company, leading them to believe that they were working on behalf of the Portuguese government, thereby tricking them into printing money for them.
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. One of the banknotes fraudulently issued by Alves dos Reis.