It is unlawful to engage in forgery or counterfeiting in the United States. Those who engage in unlawful behaviors related to either counterfeiting or forgery can face serious federal charges that carry lengthy prison sentences.

A wide array of different behaviors are prohibited in connection with counterfeiting ranging from taking impressions of tools used for obligations or securities to collecting parts of different notes to rules for foreign bank notes, coins, and bars.

Violating any of the federal laws connecting with counterfeiting can have serious consequences, so it is important that you are represented by an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who knows the rules and who can fight for your future.

LV Criminal Defense can help if you have been accused of counterfeiting or forgery crimes. We represent clients in California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona who are facing federal charges and we put our legal experience to work to help fight for the most favorable possible outcomes.

To find out more about the assistance we can offer in fighting charges or negotiating a favorable plea deal, give us a call today.

Federal Laws on Counterfeiting and Forgery

18 U.S. Code Chapter 25 is the part of the U.S. Code that addresses forgery and counterfeiting offenses. There are 47 different statutes within Chapter 25 that address all different kinds of criminal conduct that a defendant could be charged with. These statutes include:

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  • § 470 – Counterfeit acts committed outside the United States
  • § 471 – Obligations or securities of United States
  • § 472 – Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities
  • § 473 – Dealing in counterfeit obligations or securities
  • § 474 – Plates, stones, or analog, digital, or electronic images for counterfeiting obligations or securities
  • § 474A – Deterrents to counterfeiting of obligations and securities
  • § 475 – Imitating obligations or securities; advertisements
  • § 476 – Taking impressions of tools used for obligations or securities
  • § 477 – Possessing or selling impressions of tools used for obligations or securities
  • § 478 – Foreign obligations or securities
  • § 479 – Uttering counterfeit foreign obligations or securities
  • § 480 – Possessing counterfeit foreign obligations or securities
  • § 481 – Plates, stones, or analog, digital, or electronic images for counterfeiting foreign obligations or securities
  • § 482 – Foreign bank notes
  • § 483 – Uttering counterfeit foreign bank notes
  • § 484 – Connecting parts of different notes
  • § 485 – Coins or bars
  • § 486 – Uttering coins of gold, silver or other metal
  • § 487 – Making or possessing counterfeit dies for coins
  • § 488 – Making or possessing counterfeit dies for foreign coins
  • § 489 – Making or possessing likeness of coins
  • § 490 – Minor coins
  • § 491 – Tokens or paper used as money
  • § 492 – Forfeiture of counterfeit paraphernalia
  • § 493 – Bonds and obligations of certain lending agencies
  • § 494 – Contractors’ bonds, bids, and public records
  • § 495 – Contracts, deeds, and powers of attorney
  • § 496 – Customs matters
  • § 497 – Letters patent
  • § 498 – Military or naval discharge certificates
  • § 499 – Military, naval, or official passes
  • § 500 – Money orders
  • § 501 – Postage stamps, postage meter stamps, and postal cards
  • § 502 – Postage and revenue stamps of foreign governments
  • § 503 – Postmarking stamps
  • § 504 – Printing and filming of United States and foreign obligations and securities
  • § 505 – Seals of courts; signatures of judges or court officers
  • § 506 – Seals of departments or agencies
  • § 507 – Ship’s papers
  • § 508 – Transportation requests of Government
  • § 509 – Possessing and making plates or stones for Government transportation requests
  • § 510 – Forging endorsements on Treasury checks or bonds or securities of the United States
  • § 511 – Altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers
  • § 511A – Unauthorized application of theft prevention decal or device
  • § 512 – Forfeiture of certain motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts
  • § 513 – Securities of the States and private entities
  • § 514 – Fictitious obligations

Whenever you have been accused of violating any of these laws, it is imperative that you understand the specific definition of the crime you have been accused of and the elements that a prosecutor must prove to secure your conviction.

For example, 18 U.S. Code section 482 defines forgery and counterfeiting crimes connected with foreign bank notes. According to the relevant statute, anyone in the U.S. who falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits a bank note or bill issued by a bank or issued by a corporation of a foreign country that was intended to circulate as money can be charged with a crime if that individual acts with intent to defraud. The penalty includes a fine and the potential for imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both.

Prosecutors must prove intent to defraud for a defendant to be charged under 18 U.S. Code section 482, as well as for many of the other offenses listed within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 25. This means that in order for you to be convicted, the prosecutor must not only show that you took unlawful actions related to counterfeiting or forgery but also must demonstrate your motivation for taking such actions.

Counterfeiting Resources

International Anti-Counterfeiting Associationwebsite

International Trade Administration – Anti-Counterfeiting Resources
1401 Constitution Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20230

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Interpol – Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, DC 20530-0001

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Getting Help From a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

A federal criminal defense lawyer at LV Criminal Defense can help you to fight against criminal charges related to counterfeiting and forgery. We have the knowledge, skill, and ability to fight on your behalf for the most favorable possible outcome and we will put our legal talents to work for you.

To find out more about how our firm can help you, give us a call today.