Before you purchase a high-end item, such as gems, artwork or electronics, you may take steps to ensure the item is authentic and not a cheap imitation. You may have the item appraised or inspected by someone who recognizes a fraud before you hand over a significant amount of money. You may simply accept the documentation that verifies the authenticity of the item. However, what happens if the documentation is fake?
Selling a knock-off product is a form of fraud, but when the fraud involves documentation, it is another white-collar offense called counterfeiting. Depending on the types of documents and the amount of money involved, the penalties for this crime can be severe and life-changing, especially if the documents relate to the federal government.
Don't face these troubles alone
If you are under investigation for counterfeiting, you may be facing federal charges. White collar crimes at the federal level may result in decades in prison and many thousands in fines after a conviction. If the circumstances surrounding your charges include the financial loss of someone else, the potential fines may be double the amount of the loss.
While the exact consequences and penalties for a conviction for counterfeiting will vary with the specific circumstances of your case, you can expect to be at risk of losing a great deal if a court convicts you. In addition to fines and prison time, you will likely deal with years of struggle to regain your position in life, your reputation and your ability to make a living. These are not things to take lightly. Some counterfeit documents federal agents commonly discover when investigating white collar crimes include these:
- Money and other forms of legal tender
- Military documents, including passes and discharge papers
- Deeds or titles to property or assets
- Power of attorney or other legal documents
- Checks or bank documents
- Postage stamps
- Driver's licenses or government-issued IDs
- Other government documents
Counterfeiting is often a complex crime that involves numerous participants. You may be dealing with many separate felony charges, including making or possessing counterfeit documents, selling or passing them as legitimate, or possessing the equipment for creating counterfeit documents. You can be sure that federal and/or Texas investigators have been building their case against you for a considerable amount of time. For a fighting chance, you would be wise to obtain experienced and aggressive legal representation.