Fake $1 Trillion Bill at Applebee's Gets Diner Arrested

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on February 25, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A South Carolina man tried to use a $1 trillion bill to pay for his lunch at Applebee's. No, he's not the Richest Applebee's Customer Ever -- he's an alleged fraudster.

53-year-old Michael Williams tried to use a $1 trillion bill after his debit card was declined, Columbia's WIS-TV reports.

No word yet on whether he's ever tried to pay with Monopoly money.

Passing the $1T Buck

The $1 trillion bill Williams tried to use was, in Kansas City's WDAF-TV's words, "obviously a fake." Perhaps Williams did not know that the United States does not even issue $1 trillion bills.

The largest note ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was the $100,000 Gold Certificate, Series 1934. But they were only used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and were not circulated among the general public, according to the agency.

In fact, bills over $100 aren't even made anymore. In 1969, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System discontinued currency notes in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 due to lack of use (they were last printed in 1945).

Though these notes may be found in circulation, they're typically held by private dealers and collectors. Sorry Williams, no dice on the $1 trillion bill.

Phony Bills

When you try to pass off a fake bill as the real deal to defraud someone, you commit the criminal offense of counterfeiting.

The law contains exemptions for collector's items and items that are so obviously dissimilar from the original that a reasonable person would not consider them real. However, making a poor copy is no defense if the intent to defraud exists.

You may have heard about people testing out fake IDs at Applebee's restaurants -- especially for underage drinking -- but fake trillion dollar bills? That's taking fraud to a whole new level.

The police's investigation into Williams' use of counterfeit currency is ongoing. In the meantime, Williams was taken into custody for an unrelated contempt case and sentenced to probation.

He was also ordered to pay $262 in court fees -- in real dollars, that is.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard