Federal Crime of Counterfeiting Money

A conviction for the federal crime of counterfeiting coney has serious consequences. Professionals from Scrofano Law PC in Virginia, Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland may be able to help. Contact us now!

Money Counterfeiting

Making fake currency is a serious offense that can result in serious charges under both state and federal law. Anti-counterfeiting laws passed by the US federal government are intended to protect the economy and currency of the country.

Counterfeiting is a broad term used to refer to several acts, but people usually commit it when falsifying, forging, or altering a United States’ security. Making, using, or possessing counterfeit United States currency with fraudulent intent is a federal crime. This also applies to foreign bank notes, obligations, or securities.

Counterfeit currency is money produced without a state or government’s legal sanction or approval, usually in an effort to imitate that currency and deceive or trick its recipient. Fraud or forgery is committed when counterfeit money is produced or used.

Both local and foreign banks adhere to federal laws on currency and foreign obligations and securities. So, forging any document with monetary value, such as a check or a treasury note, can result in criminal charges.

Counterfeiting is not treated as a simple crime in America. The government has enacted federal legislation to keep counterfeit coins and notes out of circulation. Even being in possession of counterfeit currency is a criminal offense. So, it is highly recommended that you report counterfeit currency to the appropriate authorities if you discover any.

The federal crime of counterfeiting carries serious consequences. Criminal defense lawyers from Scrofano Law, PC, may be able to help. Contact us now!

What Are Securities?


Security or obligations held by the United States include currencies, Treasury notes, Reserves, Certificates of Deposit, checks, drafts, stamps, and other forms of value issued under any act of Congress that have been drawn by or upon authorized officers of the United States. The term also refers to canceled United States stamps, Federal Reserve notes, Federal Reserve bank notes, coupons, certificates of indebtedness, national bank currency, United States notes, and bonds. 


Penalties for Counterfeiting Money

Both federal and state laws have penalties for the crime of counterfeiting money. Under federal counterfeiting law, an individual convicted of creating, possessing, or using fake money may face a 20-year sentence in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

A defendant’s conviction and sentence for counterfeit currency depends on their criminal history, the currency’s face value, and whether they were in possession of the necessary tools or technology.

Fraud, forgery, or theft may be charged against a person who passes or owns counterfeited money. However, with the help of a criminal lawyer, they can get a formidable defense and perhaps avoid a conviction.

State Penalties for Counterfeiting U.S. Currency

Several state laws criminalize counterfeit currency and related crimes, including forgery, fraud, or theft.

Penalties vary significantly by state, ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies. States typically impose higher penalties for making or altering currency than it does for possession offenses. Defendants also face penalties depending on the value of the currency they obtained or attempted to acquire. The sentence may also be increased if the defendant has a long criminal record, especially if they’ve committed theft or fraud-related crimes, or if there are aggravating circumstances, such as coercing the minor to present the cash.

The penalties for state misdemeanor offenses are typically one year in jail, plus fines. State felonies range from one to twenty years in prison. However, the sentence depends on the severity of the offense.

Defending Charges for Counterfeit Currency?

In order to convict a defendant for counterfeiting, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following:

  • People unaware of the fake currency could be fooled into thinking it was legitimate and believing it was real.

  • The defendant used, manufactured, or possessed counterfeit bills in order to defraud another (criminal intent).

If a skilled criminal defense lawyer can successfully present evidence that the defendant didn’t have criminal intent, the conviction might be avoided, as criminal intent is considered an essential element of a crime.

It is also necessary for the prosecutor to prove that you also intended to defraud someone or pass off counterfeit currency as genuine currency. If the prosecutor fails to prove this crucial element of intent, then you have a good chance of avoiding a conviction.

It is critical that counterfeit currency passes as real money so that the intent to defraud can be proven. The money must resemble authentic money so that a normal person would be confused by it and would not suspect that it was counterfeit. Therefore, one alternative defense is to argue that the counterfeit money was too poor to qualify as counterfeit money. Although this defense is limited, you may still face prosecution if you for attempting to produce or deliver counterfeit securities. So it is vital to have a strong legal defense team to help you fight these charges.

Speak With an Attorney at Scrofano Law

Our experienced federal criminal lawyers can significantly impact your case if you are being investigated for federal counterfeiting currency charges. Defending clients facing criminal charges in the federal court system is something we have extensive experience in. If you have been accused of attempting to use counterfeit documents, money, or goods, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our lawyers at Scrofano Law, PC.


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