Counterfeit Bills Circulated in Springfield
Businesses in Springfield are being advised to be on the lookout, reports WAND 17. According to the news report, counterfeit $100 bills are being passed around in local businesses in the city.
So far, the Springfield Police Department has had four reports regarding the fake bills, which were used at Citi-Trend, Qdoba, JCPenney and Auto Zone. All the affected businesses have lost the value of the fake cash, and police are advising local stores to be very careful with any $100 dollar bills being used for payment. Police are not yet sure if the crimes are connected and are still investigating the matter.
Counterfeiting Charges: Federal or State Crime?
If you’ve been charged with counterfeiting in any form, you can face serious penalties because it’s actually a federal crime that is often prosecuted aggressively. It can also be prosecuted as a state crime in Illinois.
Many people think counterfeiting is limited to just fake money like the $100 bills mentioned above, but it actually refers to any money, goods or documents made that aren’t valid and look substantially like the real thing.
A person who makes or knowingly passes off the following counterfeit items as real could be charged with a federal crime:
- “Knockoff” accessories and clothing, such as designer shoes and purses;
- Consumer items that are purchased regularly, such as packaged food and products used for animal care;
- Business or personal checks;
- Debit, identification or credit cards; and
- Financial documents such as promissory notes
Counterfeiting can even involve things like false college degrees and carries some stiff penalties. If you’re charged with federal counterfeiting, for example, you face a prison sentence of up to 20 years and heavy fines. If you’re charged at the state level with counterfeiting a debit card, you’re looking at a possible jail sentence of up to five years and a maximum $25,000 fine.
Do You Need Help?
You may have some defense options available if you’ve been charged with counterfeiting in Illinois. Common defenses include violations of your constitutional rights during arrest, the police failing to have a proper warrant, and lack of evidence. Other possibilities include demonstrating you didn’t know the item was counterfeit so you didn’t intend to defraud, and showing that the good or document simply wasn’t good enough to fool anyone else and therefore not substantially similar to the real thing.
Counterfeiting cases and their defenses can be very complex, and there is a lot on the line for you to try and handle it all by yourself. If you’re convicted of a felony or federal crime, that conviction will stay on your record for years to come and can make life difficult. Seek the help of seasoned criminal defense attorneys in Springfield IL if you’re facing counterfeiting charges.