Lights, camera, action, arrest: Man accused of using movie prop money in Raleigh scam

Kristopher Sterling Rosser Stallings
Kristopher Sterling Rosser Stallings CCBI

Police on Monday arrested a 22-year-old man on charges that he gave a woman movie-prop money when he met her in a Walmart parking lot to buy a gaming system she was offering in an online ad last year.

Kristopher Sterling Rosser Stallings gave the woman three $100 bills like the kind made for use in movies and television shows, police said.

The bills were labeled “For Motion Picture Use Only,” police said in an arrest warrant for Stallings that was issued last September.

Officers arrested Stallings Monday morning at his home on River Knoll Drive. He is accused of forgery of an instrument and obtaining property by false pretense.

Movie-prop money has several features that are unlike real U.S. currency but look enough like it to be used by actors who need to flash wads of bills or use stacks of bills.

Raleigh police are not alone in encountering movie money. Within the past 18 months, police have dealt with it in Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Texas and New York State. The Winston-Salem Journal reported in December 2016 that several businesses found prop money had been accepted for purchases.

One company that makes props for the entertainment industry, Prop Movie Money LLC of Hallandale, Fla., has the “For Motion Picture Use Only” where real currency from the U.S. Department of the Treasury says “United States of America” on the front. The words around a coat of arms where a real $100 bill has the Treasury Department’s seal, repeat the motion-picture-use-only language.

The U.S. Secret Service helped a podcast site, 99percentinvisible, produce a show about movie money.

According to a California company that sells movie money among props for the entertainment industry, the prop bills are slightly longer than a real U.S. bill and slightly narrower.

The Treasury Department has regulations for producing actual replicas of currency. They must be less than three-quarters the size of real money or 1.5 times as big, and they have to be printed on only one side. That money would not look right to movie and TV viewers.

Movie money is two-sided so it will look right in film scenes if actors spread out the money or fan a stack of bills.

Prop Movie Money LLC also offers one-sided “bills” that go on the top and bottom of a stack of blank paper the same size and can be used for scenes that need stacks of money that will not be opened.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT