Articles Posted in Counterfeiting

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A 46-year-old Texas man plead guilty to manufacturing counterfeit Federal Reserve notes, false representation of a Social Security number and aggravated identity theft.

The man faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison for the counterfeit note and false representation charges, to be followed by a consecutive mandatory minimum of 2 years in federal prison for the aggravated identity theft charge.

According to the plea agreement, on Feb. 2, 2015, the Green Cove Springs Police Department received information that two individuals, one of them later identified as the accused and another man, were manufacturing counterfeit Federal Reserve notes in their hotel room at the Astoria Hotel in Clay County.

The two men apparently had active arrest warrants for parole violations in Texas and were subsequently arrested at the hotel by deputies from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

2397205917_37bd3a5fe6_zDeputies claim they found a counterfeit $100 note on one of the men after his arrest.

During an interview with law enforcement, the men allegedly disclosed that they were involved in a drug deal in Texas in December 2014 and had been on the run ever since. Police claim they estimated printing and passing at least $10,000 in counterfeit currency. Police also believe they printed counterfeit checks using the identities of others.

Agents claim they located a box of personal identification information and financial documents belonging to other individuals, a printer/scanner/copier with counterfeit checks lying on top of it, counterfeit currency, and various computer media which had been used to manufacture the counterfeit currency during a search of the men’s hotel room.

A third man was also charged in the case for passing counterfeit currency.

This case was investigated by the Green Cove Springs Police Department, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Secret Service Jacksonville Field Office.

Under federal law, it is illegal to defraud, produce, forge, or alter any “obligation or other security” of the United States, which includes money. Penalties for manufacturing counterfeit currency include fines up to $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison. Similar offenses relating to counterfeiting currency  include distributing, selling, or possessing counterfeit money and possessing counterfeiting tools.

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A New Port Richey woman has been sentenced to prison for trafficking in counterfeit cosmetics.

The 45-year-old woman was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. A money judgment was also issued against her for nearly $1 million. She pleaded guilty to the charges against her in September 2014.

According to court documents, the woman sold more than $1 million worth of counterfeit Make-up Art Cosmetics, Inc., otherwise known as MAC cosmetics, between March 2012 and March 2014. Investigators claim she purchased bulk quantities of counterfeit MAC cosmetics from a source in China, then sold the cosmetics as legitimate products at significantly higher prices.

Investigators believe she sold the cosmetics across the country using a website for her company through eBay and directly to some wholesale customers.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Intentionally trafficking or attempting to traffic in goods that are counterfeit is a felony. Trafficking usually translates to mean the repackaging of goods or services with the intent to deceive or confuse.

Under federal law, any individual who knowingly distributes, wholesales, or sells counterfeit merchandise faces severe penalties:

  • Imprisonment
  • Fines
  • Seizure and destruction of counterfeit merchandise the wholesaler or distributor has in their possession.
  • Civil lawsuits  to recover damages, profit loses, attorneys’ fees, and other injunctive relief.

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An Illinois man is accused of trying to use a fake debit card at a SunTrust bank, according to Boca Raton police.

An email was apparently sent to bank employees warning them of the 23-year-old man after he allegedly attempted to use the card at other branches, according to a Boca Raton police arrest report.

Reports indicate that a card scanner was placed at the back of the bank, so when the man tried to add more than $1,000 on one of his fake debit cards, an employee could easily call police.

The alleged attempted transaction happened at 11:46 a.m. on Thursday when a teller at a SunTrust Bank reported that the man was in the lobby of the bank trying to use one of the fake debit cards.

The teller had already received several emails from other SunTrust banks, warning her that a man was trying to use fake debit cards at other banks.

The teller told the man there was insufficient funds and they couldn’t give him the money, according to reports. When an officer arrived, she claims the man was walking through the bank’s parking lot and she stopped him for questioning.

The teller told the officer that the man came to her window and handed her a NetSpend Visa debit card and asked for a cash advance on the card of more than $1,000.

A detective apparently called a NetSpend representative who said the numbers didn’t match any of their cards.

The officer who questioned the man said he told her he got the card in Chicago.

5856795621_16ed8e78ce_zPolice allege that the NetSpend card had information stolen from a woman in Utah. Police also claim they also uncovered a Visa NASCAR debit card in the man’s car with information belonging to a person in Texas, according to the report.

The man faces charges of fraud, grand theft, possession of counterfeit credit cards, and forgery of credit cards. He is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail on $30,000 bail.

A Counterfeit is a copy or replica of an item, usually legal tender or currency, but can also be associated with clothing, software or other tangible goods. Additionally, counterfeiting may be used in the commission of credit card fraud. This occurs when credit cards are recreated or copied in order to make fraudulent or unauthorized charges. Counterfeiting is considered a white collar crime in which an individual or organization will create counterfeit items, usually with the intention of selling these or passing them off as originals. When it comes to money, a conviction for counterfeiting can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years, along with hefty fines. Counterfeiting charges are aggressively prosecuted by federal prosecutors.

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On Monday, a former Ocoee city commissioner and local business owner, was arrested on fraud and counterfeiting charges for leading a scheme to sell fake bulletproof vests.

Two of the man’s employees were also arrested and charged with fraud and counterfeiting.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials claim counterfeit bulletproof vests have been sold online and at gun shows throughout the state by the man’s Ocoee-based business.

Fake body armor is usually pieced together with duct tape using old body armor pieces.

Agents allege the vests the man was selling could not stop a bullet. They claim the man placed fake brand-name labels on body armor manufactured at his Ocoee warehouse and sold the items online and at gun shows across the state.

According to agents, the company had its own special line of body armor that when tested, “every round went through it.”

bulletproof vest betch.jpgAgents allege that the man has been selling these counterfeit vests for around two years.
FDLE’s investigation started in August after someone purchased one of the man’s vests at a gun show in West Palm Beach. While the label on the vest did bear the name of a reputable brand, the purchaser was suspicious and took the vest to the manufacturer to confirm the item’s authenticity, according to agents.

The company apparently confirmed the item was counterfeit and notified FDLE.

FDLE agents raided the former commissioner’s facility on South Cumberland Avenue in early September. Agents allegedly found counterfeit body armor affixed with phony labels from various companies. They claim employees were sewing old pieces of body armor together, sometimes using duct tape, in order to create products that looked brand new.

It is unclear at this time how many alleged counterfeit vests were sold, but agents estimated 10 to 15 a weekend could have been sold at gun shows. The items sold for $600 to $900 each.

The 57-year-old former commissioner and one of his employees were booked into the
Orange County Jail on Monday and released after posting bail. If convicted of fraud and counterfeiting, the pair could face up to 10 years in prison per count.

The man’s other employee that was arrested is currently being held in the Pinellas County Jail on unrelated federal gun charges out of Tampa. He is accused of selling unregistered weapons, including a machine gun. Reports indicate he was indicted in August and arrested last month.

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A 52-year-old Columbian man was arrested in the Orlando area Saturday morning for having $6,500 in counterfeit U.S. currency in his possession.

A Kissimmee police officer pulled the man over Saturday morning driving a dark blue BMW with a tinted front windshield. The officer apparently instructed him to pull over while he was conducting an unrelated traffic stop in the same area.

After checking the vehicle, it was allegedly determined that the car was not properly registered to the driver. The man was detained while the officer performed a field investigation.

Investigators claim the man gave his consent for officers to search the vehicle where they allegedly uncovered a black purse containing three separate envelopes, one of them apparently containing 50 counterfeit $100 bills.

The man was placed under arrest and taken to the Kissimmee Police Department to be interviewed by Kissimmee Police Detectives and a United States Secret Service Agent.

According to the Kissimmee Police Department, a thorough search of the vehicle revealed $14, 802 of valid U.S. currency, $6,500 of counterfeit U.S. currency and 46 random gift cards from various retailers.

The man was charged with possession of more than 10 counterfeit bills and was transported to the Osceola County Jail. At the man’s request, the Columbian Consulate was contacted.

Counterfeiting represents the act of generating false currency and distributing it or attempting to distribute it as a genuine form of cash. Counterfeiting can also include other criminal activities including possession of counterfeit money or goods or trafficking in counterfeit money or goods.
When counterfeiting involves money or government bonds, it is charged as a federal crime. Like most white collar crimes, this means federal agencies will investigate and prosecute the case. Not only do these federal agencies have more resources than law enforcement organizations at the state level, they tend to show fewer leniencies to those accused of counterfeiting.

In order for the prosecution to obtain a conviction in a counterfeiting currency case, it must be shown that the accused knowingly committed the offense. A Florida Counterfeit Defense Lawyer may be able to present compelling evidence to the jury that may result in a dismissal of charges if the following can be demonstrated:

• The accused did not commit the crime of counterfeiting
• The accused unknowingly was in possession of counterfeit money
• The accused had no intent to commit the crime of counterfeiting
• Any evidence pertaining to the charge of counterfeiting is insufficient or inconclusive
When accused of a counterfeiting offense, it is important to consult with a Florida Counterfeit Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as early on in the process as possible. It does make a difference how soon a defense attorney is brought into the process. By consulting with legal counsel during the early stages of an investigation, the prosecution may be persuaded that they do not have a convincing case against you which could result in no charges being filed.

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