Counterfeiting Crimes

Counterfeiting Crimes

What Are Counterfeiting Crimes?

Counterfeiting crimes refers to the act of producing or imitating goods, money, documents, or other items with the intent to deceive and pass them off as genuine or legitimate. Counterfeit items are often made to resemble the authentic ones in appearance, but they are usually of lower quality and lack the proper authorization or authorization marks that validate the authenticity of the original.

Counterfeiting crimes can be charged at the state and federal levels. It is also possible to be charged at both state and federal levels for the same crime.

Some Common State Counterfeiting Crimes Include:

Counterfeit Currency – The production or distribution of fake money that resembles the official currency of a country. This can include bills or coins and is often done with the intent to pass the counterfeit money as genuine to make purchases or transactions.

Counterfeit Documents – Creating or selling forged government-issued documents, such as passports, driver’s licenses, identity cards, birth certificates, visas, or other forms of identification. These forged documents can be used for various illegal activities, including identity theft and fraud.

Counterfeit Stamps and Tax Labels – Manufacturing fake stamps or tax labels that are meant to be placed on official documents or products to indicate that the appropriate taxes have been paid. Counterfeit stamps and labels are used to evade taxes or fees.

Counterfeit Government Bonds and Securities – Forging government-issued bonds, treasury bills, or other financial securities with the aim of deceiving investors or the government itself for financial gain.

Counterfeit Government Seals and Badges – Creating fake government seals or badges, such as law enforcement badges or official agency emblems, to impersonate government officials or gain unauthorized access to restricted areas.

Counterfeit State-issued Lottery Tickets – Producing fake lottery tickets that resemble genuine ones to deceive individuals into believing they have won a prize.
Counterfeit State Certifications: Making counterfeit certificates or licenses issued by the government, such as educational certificates, professional licenses, or business permits.

State Penalties Can Include:

Fines – Convicted individuals may be required to pay fines, the amount of which depends on the state’s laws and the seriousness of the offense.

Imprisonment – Counterfeiting crimes can lead to imprisonment, ranging from months to several years, depending on the state’s laws and the specific circumstances of the case.

Restitution – In some cases, offenders may be ordered to compensate victims for financial losses resulting from the counterfeit goods or documents.

Probation – Instead of or in addition to imprisonment, a court may impose probation, during which the offender must adhere to specific conditions and regularly report to a probation officer.

Asset forfeiture – Courts may order the seizure of assets connected to the counterfeiting operation, such as equipment used in the manufacturing of counterfeit goods.

Other penalties – Depending on state law, additional penalties or restrictions, such as community service, loss of certain civil rights, or mandatory educational programs, may be imposed.

Some Common Federal Counterfeiting Crimes Include:

Manufacturing Counterfeit Currency – Producing fake U.S. currency notes, such as counterfeit bills, coins, or other monetary instruments, with the intent to defraud.

Possession of Counterfeit Currency – Having counterfeit money in one’s possession with the intent to pass it off as genuine currency or use it to defraud others.

Distribution of Counterfeit Currency – Transferring or circulating counterfeit money or knowingly passing it off as genuine currency in commerce.

Possession of Counterfeit Printing Plates – Possessing or producing printing plates, stones, or other materials used for making counterfeit currency or documents.

Selling Counterfeit Currency-Making Equipment – Selling or distributing machinery, tools, or equipment primarily used to produce counterfeit currency.

Counterfeiting Government Seals and Trademarks – Creating fake government seals, insignias, or trademarks to be used on counterfeit products, identification documents, or official papers.

Counterfeiting Documents – Producing counterfeit identification documents, such as passports, driver’s licenses, or Social Security cards.

Counterfeiting Official Government Documents – Producing fake government documents, such as treasury checks, postage stamps, or immigration papers.

Counterfeiting Consumer Products – Manufacturing counterfeit products, such as electronics, clothing, or luxury goods, with the intent to deceive consumers and infringe on trademarks or copyrights.

The primary federal law that deals with counterfeiting is Title 18, Sections 471-473 of the United States Code (18 U.S.C. §§ 471-473), which makes it illegal to possess, produce, offer, or distribute counterfeit currency. Additionally, several other federal laws address specific aspects of counterfeiting, such as counterfeiting of postage stamps (18 U.S.C. § 501) and possessing items that were designed for the purpose of printing any obligation or other security of the United States (18 U.S.C. § 474).

The Secret Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is primarily responsible for investigating and combating counterfeiting activities in the United States.

Federal Penalties Can Include:

Counterfeiting Currency – Producing or distributing counterfeit money is a serious offense. The penalties for counterfeiting currency can range from fines to lengthy prison sentences, depending on the severity of the crime and the amount of counterfeit currency involved.

Counterfeiting Goods – This involves the production, sale, or distribution of counterfeit products, such as counterfeit luxury goods or copyrighted items. The penalties for counterfeiting goods can include fines, restitution to the victims, and imprisonment.

Counterfeiting Securities – Producing fake stocks, bonds, or other financial instruments is also a federal offense. Penalties for counterfeiting securities can include substantial fines and imprisonment.

Counterfeiting Documents – Making or using counterfeit documents, such as passports, driver’s licenses, or immigration documents, is a federal crime. The penalties for counterfeiting documents can involve fines and imprisonment.

The specific penalties for counterfeiting crimes depend on various factors, including the nature and extent of the counterfeiting operation, the amount of counterfeit items involved, the harm caused to individuals or businesses, and the defendant’s criminal history.

The lawyers at The Attorneys For Freedom Law Firm have been representing people charged with counterfeiting crimes in both state and federal court for over three decades. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to provide the best possible defense of these charges.

To schedule a Strategy Session with an experienced counterfeiting crime attorney, contact the Attorneys For Freedom today. We can be reached online at or by calling our Arizona office at 480-755-7110.


Arizona Office Address:
3185 S. Price Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85248
Phone: 480-755-7110
Hawai’i Office Address:
1003 Bishop Street, Suite 1260 Pauahi Tower
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813
Phone: 808-647-2423
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