The Last Counterfeiter
The Story of Fake Money, Real Art, and Forging the Impossible $100 Bill
The true story of the mastermind counterfeiter who forged millions, replicated the impossible 1996 note, dodged the Secret Service, but couldn’t escape the pain of his broken family.
When Art Williams Jr.’s father abandoned the family and his bipolar mother lost her mind, a life of crime in 1970s Chicago quickly claimed him. Parking meter theft led to robbing drug dealers before Art fatefully met a man nicknamed DaVinci who taught him the skill of counterfeiting money.
In the following years, Art printed millions in counterfeit bills, selling them to criminal organizations, meanwhile trying to raise a family on the side. His greatest challenge arose with the Treasury Department’s new and most secure hundred-dollar bill ever, the 1996 note. After months spent painstakingly perfecting the new counterfeit bill, he created an indistinguishable copy to bypass the naked eye and security measures alike.
While Art slipped by the Secret Service hunting him, he searched for his long-lost father, a path that ultimately led to his undoing and another prison sentence.
In this new edition, thirteen years later, journalist Jason Kersten details how Art’s criminal knowledge caught up with him again as he found himself behind bars sharing a cell with his own son. Yet Art’s third prison sentence finally had the desired effect to convince him to start a new life. Upon finishing his sentence, he has reinvented himself, owning art galleries, and using the same techniques that locked him up for six and a half years, now as a successful artist.