Although the Secret Service is known most for its role with the President, the Secret Service's original mandate was to investigate the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. While the Secret Service still investigates currency fraud, their role in federal investigations has expanded to such federal crimes and federal offenses such as financial institution fraud, advance fee fraud and money laundering fraud.
The Secret Service was recently contacted after a California man attempted to pass off counterfeit bills at a local business in Sierra Vista. According to authorities, local police apprehended the suspect after being contacted by an employee at an Ace Hardware store. The employee claimed that the 29-year-old attempted to pay for a purchase with a fake $100 bill. After the employee refused, the man reportedly fled the scene.
Shortly after fleeing, the man was apprehended and brought into custody. The police ran a warrant check and discovered that he was wanted by another federal agency. Apparently, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service issued its own warrant for the man on the very same day. While the charges issued by the Postal Inspection Service are unspecified, they are reportedly related to fraudulent activity in several states.
If convicted of the federal crimes he is accused of, the man could face serious time in prison. Under federal statute, individual's convicted of manufacturing counterfeit U.S. currency or changing U.S. currency to increase its value is punishable by prison sentences of up to 15 years. Even if the accused man was not the manufacturer, individuals in possession of counterfeit money who have the intention of defrauding someone are similarly punishable by fines or imprisonment or both.
Experienced federal criminal defense attorneys are available to assist individuals accused of federal crimes, such as fraud. These cases can be very complex and it is important that individuals have a strong defense strategy in place to fight the charges.
Source: Sierra Vista Herald, "California man charged in local counterfeit," Derek Jordan, June 25, 2013