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When can I be accused of a counterfeiting crime?

At times, it really does seem like money makes the world go 'round. Those who have plenty of it often live a life of luxury, while those who struggle to find work, are hit with an unexpected illness, or who care for a large family are often left feeling cheated and broken. The idea of money itself can seem a little odd. It is, after all, paper. Because of this, some people, regardless of their financial background, attempt to create counterfeit money. This, however, is against the law, and Californians like you should know what could happen to them if they face such allegations.

Under federal law, anyone who deals in counterfeit bills, including buying, exchanging, selling, or delivering them, is guilty of a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine. Even those who possess the same type of paper adopted by the Treasury to make money can be charged with a class B felony. The same holds true if you find yourself possessing any counterfeit deterrent such as a watermark, special ink, or security thread used on currency by the Treasury.

The counterfeit laws of our country are far-reaching. There are prohibitions against owning dies to make counterfeit coins, machinery that is capable of creating counterfeit currency, and false gold or silver bars. Upon conviction, the penalties for violating these crimes are steep, potentially resulting in several years behind bars.

If you wind up under federal investigation for a criminal offense regarding any white collar crime, including counterfeiting activities, then it may be wise for you to learn of your legal rights. By contacting a California attorney experienced at handling such matters, you might be able to familiarize yourself with what you are up against and develop a path forward that fights for a favorable outcome.

Source: Legal Information Institute, "18 U.S. Code Chapter 25 - Counterfeiting and Forgery," accessed on July 3, 2015

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