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Criminal offenses involving counterfeiting are complicated for many reasons. To begin with, counterfeiting crimes can involve violations of U.S. law, Michigan law, or both. Secondly, the application of the law differs depending on the type of currency, document, or item that has been counterfeited. And finally, the case may be handled differently depending on the individual's involvement with the counterfeit materials in question.
One thing counterfeiting crimes have in common is that they all carry the potential for extremely serious penalties as felony offenses. If you are facing charges, contact a seasoned fraud attorney immediately. A Michigan counterfeiting lawyer could help you fight the charges that have been brought against you.The Definition of Counterfeiting
Counterfeiting is the production of phony goods. Counterfeit items are replicas of a real product. The term can be used to refer to fake money, checks, passports, records, and merchandise such as designer handbags.
Counterfeit documents, records, and currency are prosecuted under counterfeit or forgery laws while counterfeit products are usually prosecuted under fraud or trademark laws. If an individual would like to know more about which law they have been accused of breaking, they should consult a Michigan counterfeiting lawyer.Federal Laws
When it comes to federal government activity, federal law prohibits making, altering, possessing, passing the following items:
- National bank currency
- Federal Reserve notes and bank notes
- Treasury notes
- Certificates of deposit
Some examples of counterfeiting under federal laws are dealing in counterfeit obligations, possessing printing plates for U.S. securities, using the likeness of the U.S. obligation in an advertisement, and forging foreign bank notes. As Michigan counterfeiting lawyers know, these offenses are very serious felonies punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment.Michigan Counterfeit Laws
Although offenses involving counterfeit currency are governed by federal law, forged or counterfeit documents of other types may be dealt with under Michigan law. The Michigan Penal Code makes it a felony offense to alter, forge, or counterfeit public records, promissory notes, wills, bonds, and other documents when these documents are falsely created or changed to "with the intent to injure or defraud another."Proving Intent
In many cases, in order to prove that counterfeiting took place, the prosecution needs to demonstrate that an activity is carried out with fraudulent intent. However, there are cases where an individual may be found guilty of possessing counterfeit even if there is no evidence of intent.Contacting a Michigan Counterfeiting Attorney
Due to the fact that the government is anxious to protect the integrity of currency, monetary transactions, legal transactions, and other important aspects of the economy, any hint of counterfeit dealing is taken very seriously by law enforcement officials. The potential penalties can be serious and long-lasting.
Therefore, if you may be facing allegations of counterfeiting, forgery, fraud, or related charges, it is a good idea to seek advice from an aggressive Michigan counterfeiting lawyer to learn how to protect your rights and avoid taking actions that could compromise your case. Call today to set up a free consultation.