The crime of counterfeiting involves passing something off as a genuine article when it is, in fact, a fake. This offense can involve counterfeiting money, which is often a federal offense, or producing counterfeit products, signatures, art, or other items of value. If you or a loved one has been charged with a counterfeiting offense, talk to an attorney about your case today.
The Atlantic City counterfeiting defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent those charged with counterfeiting offenses and work to get their cases dropped and dismissed. For help with your case, contact our law offices today. Our lawyers offer free consultations to help you understand your options and what penalties you could face for your offense. To schedule your consultation, contact our law offices today at (609) 800-2942.
Counterfeiting Crimes in New Jersey
Counterfeit money crimes are typically investigated by the US Secret Service and are charged as federal offenses under 18 U.S.C. § 470, et. seq. These counterfeiting offenses are extremely serious offenses, as are all federal crimes. These crimes make it illegal to create any false currency, pass off fake money, or to possess the tools, plates, paper, stamps, blanks, or other items used to make counterfeit money. This crime can also apply to things other than money, such as US securities.
New Jersey has additional counterfeiting crimes aimed at punishing the production of fake goods. The first counterfeiting crime, actually called “counterfeiting,” is found under N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-32. This offense punishes the manufacture, advertisement, and sale of items with a “counterfeit mark,” as well as possession with the intent to distribute such items. A “counterfeit mark” is any logo, trademark, or other device or name brand owned by another company. This statute is usually used to punish people who sell or create knock-off watches, handbags, shoes, etc. by producing cheaper versions of famous, expensive products. If the actor in question has 25 counterfeit items or more in their possession, the statute presumes they intended to distribute them or otherwise violated the statute.
In addition to this offense, New Jersey has a separate offense for creating a forgery that makes an item seem more valuable. NJ’s “criminal simulation” statute under N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-2 makes it illegal to fraudulently make an item appear more valuable “because of antiquity, rarity, source, or authorship which it does not possess.” This includes things like fake antiques, forged autographs, forged artwork, and other fraudulent modifications to make an item appear more valuable.
Penalties for Counterfeiting Offenses in NJ
The penalties for federal counterfeiting crimes vary depending on the specific section you are charged under. The statute is divided into different sections for counterfeiting money, possessing paper to produce counterfeit bills, and other specific offenses. These offenses are variously graded to carry penalties of up to 20-25 years in prison. These crimes also carry potential criminal fines in addition to the jail time.
The New Jersey counterfeiting offense scales in seriousness depending on the number of items with fraudulent marks, the overall value of the counterfeit items, or the number of prior convictions for this offense. Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-32, this crime is graded as follows:
Counterfeiting is a fourth degree crime if:
- There are under 100 counterfeit items,
- The “total retail value” is under $1,000, or
- This is a first-time offense for this crime.
Counterfeiting is a third degree crime if:
- There are at least 100 counterfeit items, but under 1,000;
- The total value is at least $1,000, but under $15,000; or
- This is a second-time offense for this crime.
Counterfeiting is a second degree crime if:
- There are 1,000 or more counterfeit items,
- The total value is at least $15,000, or
- This is a third or further offense for this crime.
You can face potential jail time under any of the three classes of crime, meaning up to 18 months in prison for a fourth degree crime, 3-5 years in prison for a third degree crime, and 5-10 years in prison for a second degree crime. You can also face fines up to 3-times the retail value of counterfeit items you possessed, with an upper limit of $100,000 for a fourth degree crime, $250,000 for a third degree crime, and $500,000 for a second degree crime, all of which are higher than the typical fines for these levels of crime.
The crime of criminal simulation is a fourth degree crime punished by up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000. Other forgery offenses might be upgraded to a third degree crime carrying 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Atlantic City Counterfeiting Defense Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one was charged with forgery or counterfeiting crimes, you could face serious penalties. Especially if these are federal offenses, you could spend much of the rest of your life in a federal penitentiary. For help with your case, contact the Atlantic City counterfeiting defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our attorneys offer free consultations to help you understand the charges and potential penalties you face. To schedule your free, confidential consultation, contact our law offices today at (609) 800-2942.