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Federal Currency Counterfeiting

Federal counterfeiting, New York criminal possession of a forged instrument, forgery, and possession of forgery devices charges can provoke anxiety, but with the right counterfeiting defense attorneys one can manage the risk of prison time and severe fines. The allure of having limitless counterfeit money may seem too seductive to resist, particularly for someone with the adept printing skills to make accurate copies of US currency. However, the criminal punishments for counterfeiting money in both New York state and federal courts, are so serious that one should think twice before acting.

If you or someone you love has been accused of counterfeiting by the federal government, or they have been charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree, call our experienced counterfeiting attorneys now. We may be able to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. Call us today for a free consultation.

Before discussing the seriousness of the charges, it must be noted that it is not the FBI or Department of Justice that investigates counterfeiting at the federal level, rather it is the US Secret Service. Normally charged with the great responsibility of protecting the President and other high officials, the Secret Service is an aggressive and competent federal law enforcement agency with a very large budget, and skilled agents.

The federal laws that deal with counterfeiting may be found at 18 USC 470-514. 18 USC 471, Obligations or securities of the United States, is the most commonly prosecuted federal counterfeiting crime. The maximum penalty for violating 18 USC 471 is 20 years in prison and a fine. One may believe they can escape prosecution by not directly printing money, simply crafting the plates or stones used to print the money itself, distancing one’s self from the actual act of counterfeiting and spending the fake money. This is, in fact, not correct. Imitating plates used to counterfeit money is actually an even more serious federal crime with a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a fine. Counterfeiting is also a predicate federal crime which can be used to justify prosecution under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, more commonly known by its acronym, RICO, and it may also serve as a predicate crime that allows the government, under some circumstances, to plant wiretaps under the Wiretap Act. Any print shop or business, that was used as a front to print the counterfeit money, or vehicles that were used to transport the money may also be seized through civil asset forfeiture and auctioned by the US Marshals.

The New York state laws prohibiting counterfeiting are found from New York Penal Law 170.00-170.40. The New York charges are forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, and criminal possession of forgery devices. The crimes of forgery and criminal possession of a forged instrument are covered here and here. Criminal possession of forgery devices prohibits the making or possession of counterfeiting instruments with knowledge of what they actually are or allowing criminals to utilize devices like printing presses or metal working tools to make dies or plates for counterfeiting. Criminal possession of forgery devices is classified as a Class D felony and the maximum penalty is 7 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.00 or double the gain netted from the crime. In the case of counterfeiting, the fine portion may be quite severe.

If you or someone you love has been accused of counterfeiting by the State of New York or the federal government call our New York counterfeiting attorneys today. Our expert counterfeiting attorneys can help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. Call us today for a free consultation.

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