"Hey, wait a minute. Couldn't we reassemble these
two pieces of metal and make a real coin again?
The Bundesbank, the German Federal Bank, is responsible for scrapping damaged Euro coins. The coins are made of two parts - an outer ring and a inner piece. The pieces are broken apart and then sent to China as scrap metal.
However, instead of recycling them, a group of criminals in China figured out a way to put the pieces back together. Then they smuggled the coins back into Germany using flight attendants, who don't have weight restrictions on their luggage.
They mixed the fake coins with real coins and exchanged them for real money back at the bank. Since the coins are exchanged by weight, they're not examined closely.
The fraud was discovered when a Lufthansa flight attendant was struggling with her heavy luggage. When customs officials opened her bag, they discovered thousands of fake coins.
It's estimated that between 2007 - 2010, the counterfeiting operation carried 29 tons of coins into Germany, netting the counterfeiters 6 million Euros.
- Fake euro coin scam uncovered, The Local, Germany's News in English>>
- Recycling criminals take Bundesbank for millions, DW-World Deutsche Welle>>
- Struggling stewardess exposed euro coin fraud ring, Reuters>>