Although counterfeiting isn’t the type of sensational headline that typically makes the evening news, it is a felony, and a serious one. In some cases, counterfeiting charges can have heftier penalties and punishments than many types of violent crimes. The government takes counterfeiting, especially of currency, very seriously. If convicted, you could be facing 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. If you’re facing any type of counterfeiting charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Don’t get caught in the ‘talking to a lawyer will make me look guilty’ trap either. These are hefty federal charges, and you need experienced and proven legal help, as swiftly as possible.
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What Exactly is Counterfeiting?
Although the word counterfeiting might conjure images of Hollywood villains, high-stakes operations and sophisticated minting plates, a variety of different actions can be considered counterfeiting. In basic terms, counterfeiting is basically making a particular good or service appear to originate from legitimate sources, when in fact, the goods or services are unauthorized reproductions, or fakes. Listed below are a few different forms of counterfeiting in the U.S.
Different Types of Counterfeiting
- Creating fraudulent documents and goods
- Altering legitimate goods
- Counterfeiting currency
- Counterfeiting loan documents
- Counterfeiting credit union, bank or finance documents
- Counterfeiting or altering bonds, bids, contracts, public records, affidavits or other public records
- Counterfeiting federal court documents
- Counterfeiting federal agency seals
- Counterfeiting stamps or postage meters
- Copying a trademark
- Counterfeiting import or export documents related to customs duties
Buying and Selling Counterfeit Goods
The buying and selling of counterfeit goods are two pretty common types of charges. The purchase of counterfeit goods is something that can get a lot of innocent people in trouble. It may not always be immediately apparent that a good or service is counterfeit. If you’re on the receiving end of a deal, you could get caught up in the criminal justice system due to your own ignorance, the deceit of another person or simply by mistake. While defenses to the selling of counterfeit goods may be a little more difficult to build, in either situation, you want to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
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Copying a Trademark
Copying a trademarked item is a very common type of counterfeiting. This is typically where we see fake Gucci bags or other such merchandise. These reproductions can run the spectrum from not-a-very-good knockoff to virtually indistinguishable from the real deal. Many items in the fashion industry are typically involved with trademark copying cases. Sun glasses, purses, shoes, bags and other accessories are quite commonly counterfeited. If you’re facing charges for buying or selling counterfeited goods, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case.
Other Possible Counterfeiting Charges
Depending upon the details of your case, you could be facing a variety of other charges in addition to counterfeiting. You could also be charged with having possession of the tools used to counterfeit currency or other items. There could also be fraud charges involved. Make no mistake; the prosecutor will try to throw every possible charge available you. It isn’t enough that you’re facing a quarter-million dollars in fines and potentially decades behind bars, that’s just the beginning.
Counterfeiting, although it’s usually a non-violent crime, has incredibly harsh penalties. If convicted, you could be sentenced to 20 years in a federal prison, and that’s on top of fines that could reach up to $250,000. The U.S. Government takes counterfeiting incredibly seriously. Although it may not make any sense to you that you could be doing more time than somebody convicted of a violent crime like rape, it can happen. The best way to avoid these harsh punishments is to speak with an experienced and proven criminal defense attorney.
When to Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Jackson
If your facing any type of counterfeiting charges, you need to speak with a lawyer as swiftly as possible. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because this is typically considered a ‘white collar crime’ that you won’t do serious time for it, if convicted. You could be facing decades behind bars in a federal facility, and we’re not talking Club Fed here. You need to have a proven and experienced criminal defense team fighting for you.
If you’ve been charged with counterfeiting currency, copying trademarked items or any other type of counterfeiting, contact the skilled attorneys at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate consultation.