msnbc.com and NBC News
updated 7/1/2009 4:44:34 PM ET 2009-07-01T20:44:34

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The 18-year-old son of master counterfeiter Art Williams Jr., whose life is chronicled in a new book "The Art of Making Money," has been arrested on charges of passing fake $100 bills.

Arthur Williams III, of Chicago, is accused of selling counterfeit bills containing serial numbers matching $112,900 in counterfeit currency that has been circulated nationwide, the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois announced Wednesday.

He was arrested Monday by Secret Service agents and charged in federal court. The teen was released on $10,000 bond into his mother's custody. No trial date has been set.

Authorities say Williams sold 64 fake $100 bills three times in June. Witnesses told authorities they purchased the counterfeit bills for $20 each.

If convicted, Williams faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

His father, Art Williams Jr., was the first to produce convincing counterfeits of the redesigned $100 bill that came out in 1996 with a host of new features intended to make it harder to counterfeit. He was eventually arrested and is serving time in federal prison.

In "The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter," author Jason Kersten writes that Williams' phony money looked so real it even fooled an FBI agent. Williams reportedly produced millions in fake dollars over the course of his 14-year criminal career.

NBC News' Pete Williams contributed to this report.

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