A superdollar (also known as a superbill or supernote) is a very high quality counterfeit United States one hundred-dollar bill, alleged by the U.S. Government to have been made by unknown organizations or governments. In 2011 government sources stated that these "counterfeit bills were in worldwide circulation from the late 1980s until at least July 2000" in an extradition court case.
Its important to note that while there are many features on "super notes" that can be detected with today's technology, new more sophisticated super notes are always been produced. No current technology can guarantee to catch 100% of the super notes in circulation.
Various groups have been suspected of creating such notes, and international opinion on the origin of the notes varies. The U.S. Government believes it most likely that the majority of these notes were produced in North Korea. Over $35 million of $100 bills were produced by British criminals arrested in 2002. Other sources claimed include criminal gangs in Iran, Russia, China or Syria. The name derives from the fact that the quality of the notes exceeds that of the originals.
More $100 bills circulate in Asia, where U.S. currency is often seen as a safer investment than local currency, and many seizures of supernotes are associated with persons from Korea, Russia, and the Middle East.
A new $100 bill design intended to thwart counterfeiting, incorporating a "3D security ribbon," colorshifting numerals and drawings, and microprinting, entered circulation in 2013.
Supernotes are said to be made with the highest quality of ink printed on a cotton/linen blend, and are designed to recreate the various security features of United States currency, such as the red and blue security fibers, the security thread, and the watermark. Moreover, they are printed using an intaglio printing process or with engraved plates, the same process used by the U. S. Government for legitimate notes. In most counterfeiting, offset printing or color inkjet and laser printing are most common means of making counterfeit money.
Experts who have studied supernotes extensively and examined them alongside genuine bills point out that there are many different varieties of supernotes. In 2006 the "family" of fraudulent bills was thought to have 19 members, but since 2006 producers of the supernotes have improved the product, and more varieties exist. Early versions of the fake notes, for example, lacked the bands of magnetic ink printed in distinctive patterns on different denominations of U. S. money; later counterfeits rectified this error. Several of the inconspicuous "mistakes" on the first supernotes were corrected, some several times.
On the genuine $100 bill, for example, the left base vertical line of the lamp post near the figure on the reverse of the $100 note is weak. The first supernotes printed this line too distinctly, rendering the counterfeit more authoritatively printed than the original. Later supernotes over-corrected this strong line by removing it altogether. Similarly, the hands of the clock on Independence Hall on the genuine bill extend slightly beyond the inner circle; on the supernotes they stop short of it.
On the front of the supernote, in the "N" in "UNITED STATES," a slash can be seen to the right of the diagonal and the right ascender of the letter; there is none on the genuine note. Other differences in vignetting and in the defining lines of the top ornament in Independence Hall have been observed. Klaus Bender and others have speculated that the counterfeiters introduced these differences to be able to distinguish their product from the original, but there is no obvious way to confirm this.
In two sting operations running from 2002 to 2005, dubbed "Operation Smoking Dragon" and "Operation Royal Charm", United States agents arrested at least 87 people on charges that included smuggling superdollars. About $4.5 million in counterfeit currency was seized, much in $100 bills. No definitive origin for the counterfeit $100 bills was determined.