Los Angeles Federal Counterfeiting Defense Lawyer
Are you or someone you love facing federal counterfeiting charges in Los Angeles, CA? Being charged federally with counterfeiting can be an intimidating experience.
Contact The Rodriguez Law Group to ask our Los Angeles federal crimes lawyers about your situation and learn more about your options. We offer a free initial consultation, so contact our law office in Los Angeles to schedule yours today at (213) 995-6767.
How Our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help If You’ve Been Charged with Counterfeiting
The federal court process is drastically different than the state court process. Not only do different procedural rules apply, but the parties have different titles, there may be more than one judge involved in deciding your case, and you will be indicted by a grand jury (unless waived) rather than arrested based on probable cause. What’s more, in certain instances, you may be charged both at the state and federal level.
While a federal charge can be overwhelming at first, especially when the charge is as serious as a federal counterfeiting charge, the counterfeit defense lawyers with The Rodriguez Law Group have navigated the process hundreds of times before.
Founded by a former prosecutor, our southern California law firm will work tirelessly to alleviate your concerns, build the strongest defense for you, and minimize the penalties that you face. We offer a free consultation to address all of the questions that you have about our firm and the court process. Contact our seasoned attorneys to discuss your case at no charge today.
Overview Of Counterfeiting in the United States
For years, the production and sale of counterfeit goods have been on the rise, even when trade as a whole decreased or remained neutral. In 2019, according to figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “27,599 shipments of goods that violated intellectual property rights were seized in the fiscal year 2019.
The retail value of the counterfeit goods amounted to $1.5 billion, meaning that the seized goods would retail for that much if they were actually real.”
That is an astounding figure which, with more and more sophisticated techniques being utilized to produce counterfeit goods, is only expected to increase. Due to the interstate nature of counterfeiting, it is predominantly regulated and prosecuted by the federal government.
In fact, the ability to prosecute counterfeiting lies entirely within the power of the United States Congress. The U.S. Secret Service is tasked with safeguarding U.S. currency and securities, and the resources available to them to investigate counterfeiting are essentially limitless.
Although the federal indictment process is designed to intimidate, an experienced counterfeiting defense lawyer will help you make sense of the process. Your attorney will fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, or facilitate the negotiation of a plea bargain. The experienced Los Angeles counterfeiting defense lawyers at The Rodriguez Law Group have been defending the people all across the United States against counterfeiting charges for years.
What Is Counterfeiting in LA?
Under 18 U.S.C. § 470, counterfeiting is the production, dealing possession, or use of fake documents or other security of the United States, or the production, dealing, or possession of any thing used to make such counterfeit document or security.
Although the word “counterfeit” is commonly used when referring to the illegal reproduction of goods (such as knock-off bags, shoes, and the like), those sorts of offenses are typically prosecuted under trademark infringement or fraud laws, while counterfeiting is reserved for items that “defraud the U.S. government,” such as:
- Securities (stocks, mutual funds, bonds);
- Maritime papers;
- Postage stamps;
- Military papers;
- Legal documents (including deeds, powers of attorney documents, contracts, and more involving the government of its officers as a party); and
- Other government documents.
It comes as a surprise to many that counterfeiting money or security issued by foreign banks can also be prosecuted by the United States government if the counterfeit act occurs within the United States.
The most commonly counterfeited currency in the United States is the $20 bill. More than three-quarters of the accused are sentenced to imprisonment. With statistics like that, the importance of having an experienced criminal defense lawyer specializing in counterfeiting cannot be overstated.
Counterfeit Currency or Securities of the United States
A person is guilty of counterfeiting U.S. currency or securities if that person, “with the intent to defraud, falsely makes forges, counterfeits, or alters any obligation or other security of the United States.”
The punishment for counterfeiting U.S. currency or securities is fines and imprisonment for up to twenty years, or both. Additionally, if the act is committed by a person outside of the U.S. that would otherwise be punishable under this law, it shall be punished as if it occurred within the U.S.
Uttering Counterfeit Currency or Securities
A person is guilty of uttering counterfeit obligations or securities if that person “passes, utters, publishes, or sells,” or attempts to do any of the same with counterfeited currency or securities of the United States, or conceals the same, with the intent to defraud.
The punishment for uttering counterfeit currency or securities is fines and imprisonment for up to twenty years, or both.
Possession of Devices Producing Counterfeit Currency or Securities
A person who controls, has custody or possession of a device used to print or manufacture false currency or securities, or any part of, a plate or other thing that may be used to print any obligation or security of the United States, or makes such thing, or with the intent to defraud, makes, acquires, scans, records, transmits, etc., an electronic image of any obligation or other security of the United States, or sells such thing, or brings such thing into the United States, or prints or has made any print “in the likeness of such an obligation or security” is guilty of a class B felony.
Class B felonies are punishable by fines and up twenty five years of imprisonment or more.
Contracts, Deeds, and Powers of Attorney
A person is guilty of counterfeiting contracts, deeds, and powers of attorney if that person “falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits any deed, power of attorney, order, certificate, receipt, contract, or other writing, for the purpose of obtaining or receiving, or of enabling any other person, either directly or indirectly, to obtain or receive from the United States or any officers or agents thereof, any sum of money” or who knowingly uses such counterfeited writing with the intent to defraud the United States.
The punishment for counterfeiting contracts, deeds, and powers of attorney is fines and up to ten years imprisonment.
What Is The Punishment for Counterfeiting?
Generally speaking, federal Counterfeiting crimes carry harsher punishments than Counterfeiting crimes prosecuted at the state level. Under the current administration, the prosecution of and legislation aimed at curbing counterfeiting has been at an all-time high.
Fines may be issued under several provisions of the above-referenced codes of up to $250,000.00, and if the alleged offense resulted in the financial gain or loss of another, the accused’s fines could include double the amount of the gain or loss.
Those convicted of subsequent charges of counterfeiting (called habitual offenders) will face harsher penalties.
How Can I Defend Myself If I’m Facing A Counterfeiting Charge in Federal Court?
Depending on the nature of your charge and the facts surrounding your case, your first crucial step is to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer specializing in federal counterfeiting charges. The attorneys at The Rodriguez group will assess the accusations against you, the evidence supporting such, and will steadfastly work towards crafting the strongest defense possible.
Additionally, our team will gather evidence, utilize experts, speak to witnesses, and more to build the strongest defense for you.
Common examples of defenses to a federal counterfeiting charge are:
- Lack of intent to produce/possess/transfer counterfeit money or securities;
- False accusation;
- Lack of knowledge that the currency was counterfeit;
- The counterfeit money or security was so poor that it couldn’t have been mistaken as such;
- Lack of evidence; and
- Illegal indictment process or failure of due process rights.
Further, the federal government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high threshold to meet. The counterfeiting defense lawyers at The Rodriguez Group will obtain evidence from witnesses, review the chain of title of any physical evidence taken into custody, and otherwise seek information from any source that could exonerate you.
By utilizing the skills gained over many years of practice, your lawyer will defend, dismiss, or reduce the charges against you. If a conviction is unavoidable, your lawyer will negotiate the best possible deal for you, and provide you with strong representation and guidance throughout the federal court process.
Contact Our Federal Crimes Lawyers in Los Angeles If You’re Facing Federal Counterfeiting Charges
If you have been indicted on federal counterfeiting charges, contact the experienced counterfeiting criminal defense lawyer at The Rodriguez Law Group. We will thoroughly review the government’s case against you to craft the very best strategy for you. When you hire The Rodriguez Law Group, here’s what you’ll get:
- A team of lawyers whose practices are dedicated exclusively to criminal defense;
- Years of combined experience defending counterfeiting and other federal crimes;
- A former prosecutor on your team, who understands the complexities of counterfeiting charges;
- Hundreds of jury trials successfully completed; and
- A “10 out of 10” rating on Avvo (attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez).
If you are ready to learn more about how we can help defend you against an accusation of Counterfeiting crimes, call us now. We welcome the opportunity to assist you during this challenging time.