Federal counterfeiting is a serious offense that involves possessing, producing, and using fake notes and documents with the intent to defraud the federal government. If you’ve been charged under federal law, you face a fine of up to $250,000 and a maximum of 25 years in prison. Because the federal government takes counterfeit crime very seriously, fighting a counterfeit crime is difficult and involves taking on tough prosecutors backed by the federal government. You need to talk to a Los Angeles counterfeiting lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group is here to help fight your counterfeit case. Our firm’s only mission is getting you the best possible verdict. We have assembled a hand-picked team of attorneys, including lawyers who have spent their entire careers focused on federal charges. We use custom defense strategies that work for you and against even the toughest prosecutors. In many cases, we may be able to help you avoid prison time or even walk away with no penalties. Let us give you a free consultation and get started building your defense. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as counterfeiting?
Counterfeiting is a crime that describes replicating and presenting fake versions of original items. Although the term generally relates to producing fake commercial products, such as art or handbags, this type of counterfeiting is not covered under federal criminal law. Rather, federal counterfeit crime involves producing, possessing, and using fake currency and documents that attempt to defraud the U.S. government. Production and use of counterfeit money are the most well-known counterfeit crimes. However, it’s not the only form of counterfeit crime. Federal counterfeit crime laws cover the following fake items and documents:
- Postage stamps
- Letters patent
- Ship’s papers
- Military documents, including:
- Discharge papers
- Government documents
- Legal documents, including:
- Power of attorney documents
Counterfeiting crimes do not just include possessing the fake documents themselves. Associated crimes, such as owning the tools to produce counterfeit items, may also be charged as a separate offense by the prosecution. It’s also illegal to buy, sell, trade, transfer, or deliver counterfeit material.
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What if I’m accused of counterfeiting money?
Counterfeiting currency is a significant charge. These charges are often investigated by the Secret Service (part of the U.S. Treasury Department), the FBI, and other federal agencies. If you’ve been accused of a counterfeit crime, the first thing you should do is speak with a qualified defense attorney about the specifics of your case. Do not risk facing this charge without experienced legal representation.
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What if I’m accused of counterfeiting securities or other documents?
These charges are taken very seriously by the U.S. government. These charges are often related to immigration-related offenses and are subject to investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force investigates counterfeit charges tied to criminal organizations. Most other fraudulent document charges, including fake IDs and telecommunications fraud, are subject to investigation by the Secret Service.
What all of these agencies have in common is that they come backed with vast resources to investigate and prosecute crimes. Federal prosecutors draw on the expertise of these agencies to present very tough cases in court. If you are being investigated for any of these charges, you need more than just an ordinary defense lawyer. You need someone with experience fighting the feds and winning cases in federal court.
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What are the penalties for a federal counterfeiting conviction?
Federal penalties for counterfeit money or securities include:
- A fine of up to $250,000
- Up to 25 years in prison for a counterfeit crime involving U.S. currency and securities, as well as foreign securities produced inside the U.S.
Penalties for other counterfeit charges vary depending on the specific case. They can include:
- Creating counterfeit coins over five cents, or gold or silver bars:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Passing or attempting to use counterfeit coins over five cents, or gold or silver bars:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Counterfeiting postage stamps:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Putting two or more notes together to forge a counterfeit note:
- Up to 10 years in prison
These charges carry extra penalties if someone was defrauded. Specifically, if the counterfeit act results in a gain or loss to any individual other than the defendant, you may additionally be charged up to double that amount.
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What defenses can I use in a counterfeiting case?
It depends on the specifics of what happened. For example:
- Lack of intent is one of the most powerful defenses. If you were caught possessing the counterfeit material, for example, you may not have been aware that it was fake. In cases of producing counterfeit notes or documents, you may not be guilty if you did not intend for the material to be used fraudulently.
- Rights violations can also affect your case. You may be able to have evidence against you suppressed, or blocked from the case, if it was gathered through police misconduct or illegal search and seizure.
- Lack of substantial evidence is a strong defense that often wins counterfeiting cases. A skilled defense lawyer will launch their own investigation and review every piece of evidence that the prosecution has. If the evidence does not support the charge, you may win in court or may even get the case dismissed.
These federal cases are fiercely prosecuted, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to win. If you’ve been charged with a counterfeit crime, you need to talk to an experienced counterfeit lawyer right away.
Talk to a Counterfeiting Lawyer in Los Angeles for Free
The Simmrin Law Group has put together some of the best lawyers in California to present top-tier defense against federal counterfeiting charges. We are on your side and ready to start building your defense right away. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.