According to financial regulators and security officers, since the introduction of the Euro in January 1, 2002, there have been over 6 million counterfeit euros and fake banknotes that have been removed from circulation. Intelligence officers estimate that over half of these fake notes were produced in the Italian town of Giugliano.
The European Central Bank reported 670,000 counterfeit banknotes were found to be in the money circulation and removed in 2013. The amount of counterfeit money detected represented an annual increase of mover 26 percent.
Criminal justice agencies across the European Union state that the makers of counterfeit notes sells batches in bulk to wholesale distributors for 10 percent of the value of the bill. Thus, if a counterfeit money producer sells a batch of fake bills that have a face value of 500,000 euros, then the producer will receive 50,000 genuine euros for the fakes.
The wholesaler who bought the fakes will the pay money mules to spend the money and get it into the financial system. When paying the mules, the wholesaler also charges 10 percent. The mules prefer to spend the fake bills in locations where there are a lot of people that have many cash transactions. Popular venues to pass the fake notes include Champions League football matches and at Oktoberfest.
Source: Philip Johnson, “The Town That Prints Money: Europe’s Counterfeit Capital,” Newsweek, April 28, 2014.