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Fake denominations of United States currency have been created by individuals as practical jokes or to make a statement and do not assert that they are legal tender. The Federal Reserve declares them legal to print as long as they are not presented as genuine currency. In some cases money seen as fake today were at one time real currency that has since been long ago demonetized.
These copper coins were about one-quarter the size of a regular U.S. cent and depicted President Richard M. Nixon on the obverse. The reverse showed the Watergate Hotel. They were issued as novelty items and as political commentary on President Nixon.
Legitimate three-dollar bills were also produced by various banks in the early days of the United States, by the Republic of Texas, and the Confederacy. Before the creation of the Federal Reserve System, individual banks offered their own currencies.
Various fake $3 bills have been released over time, generally poking fun at politicians or celebrities such as Richard Nixon, Michael Jackson, George W. Bush, both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama in reference to the idiomatic expression "queer as a three-dollar bill" or "phony as a three-dollar bill". In the 1960s, Mad printed a $3 bill that featured a portrait of Alfred E. Neuman and read: "This is not legal tender—nor will tenderizer help it." Mad writer Frank Jacobs said that the magazine ran afoul of the US Secret Service because the $3 bill was accepted by change machines at Boise, Idaho, casinos. In the first decade of the 21st century, gay rights groups encouraged supporters to print obviously-fake $3 bills, called "Queer Dollars", and place the fake bills in Salvation Army donation buckets as a protest against that organization's alleged policy against gay rights.
In 2001, a local man purchased $99 worth of merchandise in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, at a Fashion Bug store with a $200 bill featuring then-President George W. Bush on the front. The back featured an image of the White House with signs in the front lawn, bearing phrases such as "WE LIKE BROCCOLI" and "USA DESERVES A TAX CUT." The local man was later charged with forgery, theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
The United States has never issued a million dollar bill. However, many businesses print million dollar bills for sale as novelties. Such bills do not assert that they are legal tender. The Federal Reserve has declared them legal to print or own and does not consider them counterfeit because no genuine million dollar bill exists or ever has existed.
Some have attempted to fraudulently pass or otherwise use these novelty bills as though they were real currency, usually resulting in arrest. In March 2004, Alice Regina Pike attempted to use a novelty $1,000,000 bill with a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the front to purchase $1671.55 in goods from a Wal-Mart in Covington, Georgia, and then she asked for change. She was arrested on a charge of forgery.
In October 2007, Samuel Porter tried to get change for a million dollar bill at a Giant Eagle store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The store manager confiscated the bogus bill and Mr. Porter flew into a rage. He slammed an electronic funds-transfer machine into the cashier's counter and reached for a scanner gun at the store. He was later arrested and charged for forgery and he served time at the Allegheny County Jail. The US Secret Service was also investigating this case.
In November 2007, Alexander D. Smith tried to open a bank account in Aiken County, South Carolina, by depositing a $1,000,000 bill. The bank employee refused to deposit the bill and called the police. Smith was immediately arrested on a charge of forgery.
In December 2011, Michael Anthony Fuller attempted to buy a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other merchandise totaling $476 from a Wal-Mart in Lexington, North Carolina, with a $1 million bill. Court records show that Fuller was later charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument, both felonies.
In March 2006, agents from ICE and the Secret Service seized 250 notes, each bearing a denomination of $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars) from a West Hollywood apartment. The suspect had previously been arrested on federal charges for attempting to smuggle more than $37,000 in currency into the U.S. following a trip to South Korea in 2002.
In 2014, Michael Williams attempted to purchase a meal at an Applebee's in Sumter, South Carolina with a trillion dollar bill. When police arrived, he was arrested on an unrelated contempt of court charge.
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A fictional one trillion (10004) dollar bill forms the basis of the plot of the The Simpsons episode "The Trouble with Trillions". It features a portrait of Harry Truman giving a thumbs-up with one hand and the a-ok sign with the other. This fake trillion dollar bill can also be found in numerous Kip Kay videos on YouTube such as "Booby Trapped Briefcase".
On the Futurama episode Three Hundred Big Boys, Earth President Richard Nixon introduced a $300 bill with his head on it for a tax refund to give to the citizens of Earth. $30 bills featuring Braino on the front have also appeared in the episode Benderama.