Some Georgia students hit upon what they thought was a good idea for making money using school computers. Too bad it wasn’t legal.

Four Haralson County High School students and an adult friend have been charged with felony forgery in an alleged counterfeit scheme. The students reportedly made counterfeit money on a computer in their high school drafting class and passed hundreds of dollars in fake bills around town, police said July 18.

Police Chief David Godfrey, of Tallapoosa, Ga., said the suspects made about 200 bills—in $1, $5, $10 and $20 denominations—on the final days of the school year and distributed about 50 bills at businesses.

Godfrey believes as many as 25 bills continue to be in circulation in Tallapoosa, a town of about 2,800 people 50 miles west of Atlanta on the Alabama state line.

According to a police report, a school custodian told police that she saw the students making the bills and reported it to their teacher, “and he only smiled.”

The fake bills were first confirmed with a special pen that when marked on a counterfeit bill shows brown in color. On real currency the pen’s marking is invisible, Godfrey said.

The students were taking a computer-aided drafting class in which they used school-owned computer equipment to make the money, Godfrey said.

Authorities located files on the school computers containing images of $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills, the chief said.

Police seized two computers, monitors, keyboards, and printers for analysis from the school, and a computer also was taken from the home of suspect Tracy King, 17. Police said images of counterfeit money also were found on his computer.

Since the first few bills were discovered, the police department has held a class for business owners on counterfeit identification that has helped confiscate the 25 bills police have in evidence.

Besides King, the others arrested and charged with first-degree forgery were Michael Cheatwood, 25, Michael Thomas Ray, 17, Jeremiah Wohar, 18, and a juvenile whose name wasn’t released.

All five suspects have been released on bond, but two more arrests were expected, Godfrey said.

Attempts to reach Superintendent Gregory Hunt and Principal Richard Krise were unsuccessful.

Haralson County Schools