Can I be arrested for using counterfeit money I thought was genuine?
It is estimated that there could be hundreds of millions of dollars of counterfeit cash circulating in the United States. Currently, there are counterfeit hundred dollar bills circulating through New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
You may have some of the counterfeit money, or used it, and not even realized it. The fake bills are believed to have been created in New York City and circulated at area suburban malls. Law enforcement believes the counterfeiters take one dollar bills and bleach them to remove all the ink. Then, having the proper paper to use for cash, the counterfeiters use high-tech printers to print bogus $100 bills. One operation was discovered during a drug raid when police found one dollar bills in the process of being stripped clean of ink.
The bills appear to be legitimate at first glance and feel like the real thing. The counterfeit cash is being passed off as pre-1996 bills. After that year, security bands and watermarks became part of currency making it more difficult to counterfeit.
Counterfeiting is a federal crime, but if you had one of these bills in your possession and tried to use it without knowing it was counterfeit, that should not break the law. The prosecution would have the burden to prove that you had the intent to defraud or pass counterfeit bills.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, the experienced Burlington County, NJ criminal defense attorneys at Sitzler & Sitzler can help. We handle federal cases as well as New Jersey criminal matters. Call us today at (609)267-1101 for a consultation.