Los Angeles Counterfeiting Defense Lawyers
Counterfeiting is one of the oldest forms of fraud in the world. Since there has been currency, there have been counterfeiters. These days, counterfeiting is severely punished, and those convicted of the crime can expect harsh penalties, such as several years in prison and heavy fines. Ever after you face your punishment, you may find it difficult to continue living your life. Employers often do not want to hire someone with a criminal history, especially a history of fraud. Friends and family may consider you to be untrustworthy. In fact, your entire reputation may be torn to shreds.
We at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP do everything we can to keep our clients from losing the lives and reputations they worked so hard to get. We are known nationwide as one of the best criminal defense law firms you could hire. A tough case like counterfeiting needs a tough team of Los Angeles counterfeiting defense attorneys to get you the outcome you deserve. Call us at (213) 688-0460 and let’s discuss your case.
The crime of counterfeiting refers to when something, often money, is forged. This includes creating false copies to try and pass as the real thing. All forms of counterfeiting are considered federal offenses and taken very seriously by the courts.
- Counterfeiting of money: This is one of the most common forms of counterfeiting. It means you made fake money and/or knowingly attempted to use it. Currency is produced by our government and thus backed by the government. Fake money is backed by no one and is worthless, meaning by exchanging it in order to purchase goods or services, you have essentially stolen those goods or services.
- Counterfeiting of documents: Forging important documents is illegal and viewed similarly to counterfeiting currency, as it means those documents have no real backing and are essentially worthless. You can be charged with counterfeiting if you forged documents such as bonds, federal contracts, public records, or even postal stamps.
- Counterfeiting of goods: The final kind of counterfeiting is that of goods. Goods is a broad term that can include anything from clothing to jewelry to artwork. The punishments for counterfeiting goods become far more serious if trademarks have been infringed upon, like creating a fake copy of a popular purse brand but still using the logo in an attempt to pass it off as the real thing.
Due to the fact that counterfeiting is a federal offense, your case will not be investigated by California state police, but instead will be looked into by a federal agency. Similarly, the trial will be in a federal court and you will be prosecuted by the United States Government. These investigations can be intense and will often involve deep dives into your life, especially your financial history. Nothing will be considered private information so long as it may have something to do with the crime of counterfeiting.
Federal crimes are often treated far more harshly than state crimes. If you are convicted of counterfeiting, you can face:
- First offense: 10 years in federal prison and fines of up to $2 million
- Second offense: 20 years in federal prison and fines of up to $5 million
- First and second offense: Restitution paid to victims, as well as the destruction of all counterfeit goods or materials
A trial for a federal crime may seem daunting, but the government still has the duty to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you are guilty. With an experienced counterfeiting defense attorney by your side, it is possible to poke enough holes in their evidence to create reasonable doubt, which, in turn, could be enough to have you declared not guilty.
Common defenses against counterfeiting allegations include:
Lack of intent: An important piece of any counterfeiting case is that the accused intended to pass something fake off as real. If you never intended for anyone to believe what you created was real, then it cannot be considered counterfeiting. Artists often, for example, practice by recreating paintings by someone else. If you intended to hone your skills by replicating a painting but had no intention of passing the painting off as the original, then you did not commit a crime.
Lack of knowledge: If you didn’t know that you possessed counterfeit money, then it is not truly your fault if you used it. For example, you may have asked for some quick change from a friend, and that friend handed over counterfeit bills. You go to use those bills to make a purchase, only for the business to recognize them at counterfeit and call the police. In this case, you were unaware that the money you possessed was not real, and the true criminal would be the friend that supplied you with the counterfeit currency.
Lack of evidence: A key component to any trial is the evidence that the prosecution presents in order to prove your guilt. If this evidence is lacking, or simply incorrect, the primary defense should become that there is not enough evidence to pass a conviction.
It is impossible to know which defense will work for you without takes a detailed look at the facts of your case. Not just anyone can go up against a federal agency. You need a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles white-collar defense attorney who will go to bat for you. You need Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. Call our firm at (213) 688-0460 and find out how we can help you.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.