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MINNEAPOLIS CRIMINAL & VETERANS DEFENSE

Is It a Crime to Have Fake Money?

Counterfeiting money is both a state and federal crime that is punishable by incarceration and/or fines. If you happen across a fake bill or coin, whether or not having it is illegal depends on your intentions with it. In state cases, the punishments you could face depend on the value of the property or services you purchased and/or the face value of the counterfeit items.

Counterfeit Money and Criminal Intent

Technically, merely having fake money isn't a crime. It becomes an offense if you know the bill is counterfeit, and you plan on using it to defraud someone else. For instance, if you have a fake $100 bill and you head to the store to buy the latest video game system, your actions are criminal, and you could be prosecuted under state and/or federal laws.

You might not have known that the bills you had were fake, and you used them believing you were paying for your items legitimately. If you are charged with possessing and using phony money, the prosecution must prove that you intended to defraud a store or another person by using it. Often, the prosecutor's burden requires that they present other evidence suggesting you were trying to get away with using counterfeit currency.

State and Federal Laws Prohibiting the Possession of Counterfeit Currency

As mentioned before, if you knowingly use fake money with the intent to defraud, you could be charged under state and/or federal laws. Regardless of the statute you're prosecuted under, you could be facing serious consequences, such as a lengthy jail or prison sentence and/or steep fines.

Minnesota law provides that, if a person has counterfeit money, they know it is so, and they use it or attempt to use it with the intent to defraud, they are committing a crime. The potential conviction penalties depend on the value of the property or service purchased or the face value of the counterfeit item.

The punishments for possessing or using fake money include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. These penalties are meted out when the item obtained or attempted to be obtained was valued at over $35,000, or when the counterfeit bills had an aggregate total of over $35,000.
  • Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000. A person could face these sanctions when the item they bought or attempted to be purchased was valued at over $5,000, or the face value of the counterfeit money was more than $35,000.
  • Up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. These penalties are levied when a person is convicted of purchasing or attempting to purchase property or services valued at over $1,000 or the aggregate face value of the counterfeit money was more than $1,000. The individual could also face these punishments for having counterfeit items with a total value of up to $1,000 and the person was previously convicted of this offense.
  • Up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $3,000 if the property obtained or attempted to be obtained was valued at up to $1,000 or the aggregate face value of the fake money was no more than $1,000.

Federal laws concerning counterfeit currency also make it a crime to have such items with the intent to defraud. The potential conviction penalties aren't based on the value of the item purchased nor the face value of the fake bill. Using or attempting to use counterfeit money can result in a fine and imprisonment for up to 20 years.

Have you been charged with a white collar crime in Minneapolis? Contact Brockton D. Hunter P.A. at (612) 979-1112 for aggressive defense from our experienced team.

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