Arthur J. Williams Jr.
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.
Arthur Williams is also a painter and artist. During his incarceration, he painted old paper currency onto canvas, and imbedded secret symbols into each painting. While mastering his craft, he became fascinated with the art of fashion, and decided to design his own clothing line with the same symbolism he infused into his paintings. He used the ancient myths taught to him as a child to help him build the Julius Davinci clothing line. Due to the historical content of the American currency and his ambition to be a benefit to the economy rather than a hindrance, Williams refused to outsource the making of his clothing line. He chose to build the Julius Davinci brand as an American made fashion house, thus creating American jobs.
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 a 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 met a young woman from the Southside of Chicago. They had one child, Art Williams III, after his father. Art could not find a job in Chicago, so he moved to Texas where he met a 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.
Before Williams was released from jail in January 2014, he began building his company, Julius Davinci Clothing.
Movie about his life
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.
- Randy James, The Art of Counterfeiting Money – Monday, Jun. 15, 2009, Time Inc.