New York Counterfeiting and Forgery Charges Attorney/
Counterfeit and forgery are serious crimes. They include a wide variety of activities, ranging from the production of forged documents, the making of fake money, and profiting from the illegitimate use of a company’s trademark. Forgery charges are a highly serious matter, and any individual who is charged with these crimes will be facing the full extent of the law.
Lesser cases of counterfeiting and forgery are misdemeanors, which carry a penalty of up to a year in jail. The most severe cases are class C felonies, punishable by up to 15 years. The state takes all these crimes seriously and will do all it can to prosecute them as far as possible.
If you have been charged with a crime involving counterfeiting or forgery, it’s important that you have a plan to defend yourself from these serious charges. A strong defense can make all the difference in a legal case. Don’t try to defend yourself alone. Contact the Law Office of Michael D. Litman online or by phone at (917) 554-8231.
What are Counterfeiting and Forgery? What are the Penalties?
What most people think of as counterfeiting (that is, producing fake bills for spending) actually falls under the definition of forgery in the state of New York. Forgery has to do with the creation and use of “forged instruments,” which includes counterfeit currency, fake checks, physical documents of other types, and falsified digital documents. There are three degrees of forgery:
Forgery in the third degree – Forgery in the third degree concerns only the creation or completion of a written instrument with the intent to deceive. This is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.
Forgery in the second degree – Forgery in the second degree concerns the making or altering of a forged deed, contract, public record, prescription, etc. This is a class D felony, punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
Forgery in the first degree – Forgery in the first degree includes the forgery of money, stamps, securities, stocks, bonds, etc. This is a class C felony, carrying a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
Counterfeit also includes “trademark counterfeiting” and “counterfeit of wagering instruments.”
Trademark counterfeiting has to do with creating or profiting from the illegitimate use of an individual’s or an organization’s trademark. This can include manufacturing goods that are meant to resemble the products of an established organization, using false trademarks to evade restrictions, and a number of other possibilities. Trademark counterfeiting in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor, in the second degree is a class E felony, and in the first degree is a class C felony. The main determining factor in the various degrees of trademark counterfeiting is the retail value of the goods forged—in cases of second degree trademark counterfeiting the value exceeds $1,000, while in first degree trademark counterfeiting it exceeds $100,000.
Counterfeit of wagering instruments concerns creating or using fake casino wagering instruments (usually fake chips, but also including checks, tokens, vouchers, etc.) in order to defraud a casino. Use of counterfeit wagering instruments is a class A misdemeanor, but it is likely to be combined with stronger penalties concerning gaming fraud. These include possession of unlawful gaming property, use of unlawful gaming property, and manipulation of gaming outcomes in a gaming establishment.
If You’ve Been Arrested
If you’ve been arrested for crimes related to counterfeiting and forgery, it’s important that you remain calm and be polite with the police, do not resist arrest. Do not try to talk the arresting officer out of arresting you. But by the time you’re getting arrested it’s too late for that, and you’re much more likely to say something to incriminate yourself further than you are to convince anybody not to arrest you. As the officer will tell you: you have the right to remain silent. We suggest you use that right, and ask to speak to an attorney immediately.
You should get in touch with an attorney immediately. The state is already preparing its case against you, so it’s time for you to start planning your defense. A strong defensive strategy can be the difference between walking and being found guilty. It can also be the difference between receiving the minimum and the maximum sentence. Be smart. Get a good attorney who can put up a strong defense.
If you find yourself in need of legal counsel, contact the Law Office of Michael D. Litman online or call us at (917) 554-8231.