Four people have been arrested after police dismantled a large counterfeit money factory in Richmond, B.C.

At a news conference in Surrey on Monday, police said the $1.15-million seizure is one of the largest in B.C.'s history.

Police say sheets of uncut fake Canadian $100-bills and blank credit cards were seized when federal RCMP investigators executed a search warrant at a Richmond apartment on Dec. 11.

"This seizure is a particular success because the RCMP took enforcement action prior to any of the counterfeit currency reaching circulation preventing the proceeds from being used to fund other criminal activity," said Insp. Ian Lawson with the RCMP's federal crime section.

"Counterfeit cash directly impacts Canadians. By passing this fake money to retailers and consumers, the criminals are stealing from businesses and individuals and leaving all legitimate consumers responsible for the cost."

Four men, all in their 20s, have been arrested. Police are recommending several charges, including making and possessing counterfeit banknotes.

New bills coming

In November, the Bank of Canada introduced new $100 polymer bills, which were designed to last longer than paper-and-cotton bills and be more difficult to fake.

The new plastic bills have two transparent windows built into them that make them difficult to forge but easy to verify. There is also transparent text, a metallic portrait, raised ink and partially hidden numbers throughout.

Old $100 bills, real and fake, will be removed from circulation as the new polymer bills are phased in — and more denominations will follow.

The Bank of Canada's new $50 bills are scheduled to be released in March 2012.

New $20 notes will be issued before the end of 2012, followed by new $10 and $5 notes in 2013.