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Published on 6 Aug 2014

Arthur “Artorius” Williams is an American-born counterfeiter and subject of the book The Art of Making Money by Jason Kersten. He is most known for having counterfeited the 1996-issued $100 Bill, the quality of which is on par with the supernote. He currently resides in Chicago. His story was featured on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show on June 15, 2009. He was also featured in a season 5 episode of American Greed.

Williams was born on Thanksgiving, 1972. Raised on the south side of Chicago in the projects on 31st and Halsted, Williams grew up to be diehard White Sox fan. He was schooled in the ancient art of counterfeiting by his master “Da Vinci” at the age of 15. Due to his teacher’s untimely disappearance, Williams was soon recruited by Chicago’s street underworld. As a teenager, he had one child from a girl he knew from the Southside of Chicago. After numerous close stints with the law, he moved to Texas where he met and fell in love with and married a young woman by the name of Natalie.

In 1996, The U.S. treasury had made a focused effort to stop counterfeiting by releasing new bills. The first to be released was the $100 note. While on a shopping trip with his new wife, Natalie, Art held the new note in his hand and became obsessed. It was his first time seeing the new bill, which had been released while he was locked up.

The complex note reignited his passion for counterfeiting. He studied the new features closely, focusing in on the watermark, security thread, color-shifting ink and micro-printed details. He immediately began working on ways to defeat these new security hurdles.

His past caught up with him, and Williams received an extended sentence of 7 years for conspiracy to make counterfeit money.

Paramount Pictures is in negotiations with director D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) and actor Chris Pine (Star Trek) to make The Art of Making Money early next year, says Variety.

Brian Robbins is producing with Sharla Sumpter and Brad Weston. Frank Baldwin wrote the script.

Pine would play Art Williams, the alias for a Chicago man who rose from petty theft to become a master counterfeiter.

Paramount acquired the project based on a 2005 Rolling Stone article by Jason Kersten, who turned his reporting into the book “The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter.” Source:Variety October 12, 2009.

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Henry Sapiecha

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