Counterfeiting Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations

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In one form or another, counterfeiting has existed for hundreds of years and is still a problem today. There are two main types of counterfeiting crimes that are commonly committed today – counterfeiting currency, and counterfeiting goods. Both are very serious and will be charged as felonies. Additionally, the specific situation could bring even heavier charges – simply possession a few counterfeit bills may not be charged as seriously as attempting to traffic counterfeit goods across international borders, for instance.

Counterfeiting Laws

Counterfeiting laws are very strict and very serious. Counterfeiting money is still the most popular method of counterfeiting, but is growing increasingly difficult in the US due to newly designed bills. Counterfeit documents are usually charged as fraud or forgery instead of outright counterfeiting, but the two definitions blur together frequently in the case of documents and in the case of goods and products.

Clothing is regularly counterfeited, and as a result is another area of the law that is being increasingly cracked down on. Laws on counterfeiting are covered under Title 18, Chapter 25 of the US code. Section 471 focuses on the counterfeiting of securities of the US, and puts forth a very harsh penalty of fines and up to 20 years in prison. Subsequent sections in the code focus on all other manner of counterfeiting, from obligations and securities to military passes and more.

Counterfeiting is a federal crime, and knowingly trying to pass counterfeit bills or goods off as real, creating counterfeit items, trafficking them, or having any other relation to counterfeit items will result in felony charges in almost all instances. Something as simple as placing a label on a shirt that bears another item’s Trademark could lead to counterfeit charges.

Counterfeiting Crimes and Charges

Essentially, creating a phony copy of anything and attempting to pass it off as the real things will be considered counterfeiting. While charges of duplicating US securities and obligations are the most serious counterfeiting offenses, any other counterfeiting crimes will be very serious as well and in all cases will be considered felonies.

  • The counterfeiting of US securities including currency and obligations will lead to fines of up to $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison.
  • When foreign obligation and securities are counterfeited, prison sentences can reach 25 years or more
  • Counterfeiting goods, such as adding a tag to a shirt with a well-known trademark like Gucci or Gap, and selling them for a profit will also bring felony charges similar to those associated with counterfeiting US securities.

Counterfeiting Punishment

The punishments for counterfeiting anything are very harsh, and those convicted of this crime will be convicted of a felony. As mentioned above, fines can reach $250,000 and prison sentences can reach 20 or even 25 years in some cases. Additionally, if financial gain or loss occurs to someone other than the defendant then sentences can be even heavier, with up to double the amount gained or lost in the crime serving as the fine and up to 25 years in prison possible. Additionally, the specific nature of the counterfeit item itself could have an impact on sentencing. For instance, those who combine parts of multiple notes together will face up to 10 years in prison instead of 20, while counterfeiting gold bars or coins may face up to 15 years. As with most crimes, the specifics of the crime will have a major impact on the final sentence.

Counterfeiting Sentencing Guidelines

Today’s counterfeit sentencing guidelines are laid out in sections 2B5.1 and 2B5.3 of the sentencing code. Similar processes are used in the case of counterfeit bills, wherein the amount of face money is used to determine the severity of the punishment. Other factors can be used to influence the sentence including previous criminal histories. The base offense level for counterfeiting is a 9, and then additional points are added based on other aspects of the crime.

Counterfeiting Statute of Limitations

As a federal law, the statute of limitations for counterfeiting doesn’t change on a state to state basis. Generally, the statute of limitations is 5 years. However, certain instances that are considered to be related to terrorism may come with a statute of limitations of 8 years.

Counterfeiting Cases

There have been numerous well-known cases of counterfeiting over the years including:

  • Actor Louis Gross, who played a role on the TV series The Sopranos, was arrested in 2013 and charged with attempting to pass off fake bills in New York.
  • Edward Mueller spent more than 10 years passing off fake 1 dollar bills, and had a film – Mister 880 – based on his crimes
  • Arthur Williams was caught and convicted in 2002, and over a period of 10 years had printed more than 10 million dollars in counterfeit money.

Counterfeiting Laws by State

The following section outlines counterfeiting laws by state.

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
CaliforniaIowaMissouriOhioVermont
ColoradoKansasMontanaOklahomaVirginia
ConnecticutKentuckyNebraskaOregonWashington
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

Alabama

Under:

  • Code Sections 13A-9-1, 13A-9-2, 13A-9-3, 13A-9-4
  • Code Sections 13A-9-5, 13A-9-6, 13A-9-7, 13A-9-8
  • Code Section 13A-9-9

Punishments are:

  • For forgery of financial or official documents. Class B (two to 20 years imprisonment and fine up to $30,000) or C (one year and one day to 10 years imprisonment and $15,000 or twice the value involved, whichever is greater) felony depending on document’s nature.
  • For possession of forged financial or official documents. Class B (two to 20 years imprisonment and fine up to $30,000) or C (one year and one day to 10 years imprisonment and $15,000 or twice the value involved, whichever is greater) felony depending on document’s nature.
  • Possession of forged instruments. Class A misdemeanor (up to one year in jail, fine of up to $6,000).
  • Possession of forgery tools. Class C felony (one year and one day to 10 years imprisonment and $15,000 or twice the value involved, whichever is greater).

Alaska

Under:

  • 1993 Alaska Statutes, TITLE 11 CRIMINAL LAW, Chapter 11.46, Section 11.46.520 CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A FORGERY DEVICE
  • 1993 Alaska Statutes, TITLE 11 CRIMINAL LAW, Chapter 11.46, Section 11.46.500 FORGERY IN THE FIRST DEGREE
  • 1993 Alaska Statutes, TITLE 11 CRIMINAL LAW, Chapter 11.46, Section 11.46.505 FORGERY IN THE SECOND DEGREE
  • 1993 Alaska Statutes, TITLE 11 CRIMINAL LAW, Chapter 11.46, Section 11.46.510 FORGERY IN THE THIRD DEGREE

Punishments are:

  • Class C felony for criminal possession. Up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $50,000.
  • Class B felony for 1st degree forgery. Up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $100,000
  • Class C felony for 2nd degree forgery. Up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $50,000
  • Class A misdemeanor for 3rd degree forgery. Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $10,000

Arizona

Under:

  • Ariz. Rev. Stat. Sections 13-2001, 13-2002
  • Ariz. Rev. Stat. Section 13-2003

Punishments are:

  • Class 4 felony. Presumptive sentence – two years six months, aggravated term three years and nine months
  • Class 3 felony for where the instrument is used to buy or rent a home – Presumptive sentence – three years six months, aggravated term eight years and nine months
  • Class 5 (presumptive term of two years, aggravated term of two years and six months) or 6 felony (presumptive term of one year, aggravated term of two years) for possession of forgery tools
  • Fines of up to $150,000

Arkansas

Under Ark. Code Sections 5-37-101, 5-37-201:

  • Class B felony for 1st degree forgery. Five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
  • Class C felony for 2nd degree forgery. Three to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000

California

Under California Penal Code Sections 470-483.5:

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • 16 months, two years, or three years imprisonment
  • Two to four years recommended for felony counterfeiting

Colorado

Under:

  • Rev. Stat. Sections 18-5-102, 18-5-104
  • Rev. Stat. Sections 18-5-105, 18-5-107, 18-5-108
  • Rev. Stat. Section 18-5-104.5
  • Rev. Stat. Section 18-5-109

Punishments are:

  • Class 5 felony – One to three years imprisonment, fine between $1,000 and $10,000
  • Class 6 felony for possession of forged financial and legal documents and public records – One year to 18 months in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000
  • Class 2 misdemeanor for possession of other forged documents – Three to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of $250 to $1,000
  • Class 1 misdemeanor for second degree forgery and using a forged academic record – Six to 18 months in jail and/or a fine of $500 to $5,000
  • Class 6 felony for criminal possession of a forgery device – One year to 18 months in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000

Connecticut

Under:

  • Gen. Stat. Sections 53a-137, 53a-138, 53a-139, 53a-140
  • Gen. Stat. Section 53a-142

Punishments are:

  • Class A misdemeanor for forgery of symbols of value – Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000
  • Class C or D felony for forgery of official and financial documents – One to ten years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000, or one to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $5,000
  • Class B misdemeanor for all other crimes related to forgery – Up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000

Delaware

Under:

  • Delaware Code Title 11. Crimes and Criminal Procedure Section 861. Forgery; class F felony; class G felony; class A misdemeanor; restitution required
  • Delaware Code Title 11. Crimes and Criminal Procedure Section 926. Trademark counterfeiting

Punishments are:

  • Class F felony for 1st degree forgery for financial or official documents – Up to three years imprisonment
  • Class G felony or 2nd degree forgery for deeds and public records – Up to two years imprisonment
  • Class A misdemeanor for all other forgeries – One year in jail
  • Class G felony for 2nd offenders or the value is higher than $2,000 but lower than $10,000 – Up to two years imprisonment
  • Class E felony for repeat offenders or the value is $10,000 or more – Up to five years imprisonment
  • Restitution payment is always required
  • Fines of $5,000 or three times the value involved, whichever is greater, are also imposed.
  • Seizure and forfeiture

Florida

Under:

  • Stat. Sections 831.01, 831.04, 831.07, 831.08
  • Stat. Sections 831.02, 831.09
  • Stat. Sections 831.03, 831.031, 831.032

Punishments are:

  • 3rd degree felony – Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
  • Sale, possession, or manufacturing of counterfeit labels – Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000; or up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Harsher penalties for second and subsequent offenses
  • Seizure and forfeiture
  • Destruction of counterfeit goods

Georgia

Under Ga. Code Ann. Section 16-9-1, illegal actions include:

  • Intent to defraud
  • 2nd degree forgery – Making, altering, or possessing any forged writing (other than a check)
  • 1st degree forgery – Using forged writing (other than a check)
  • 3rd degree forgery – Making, altering, possessing, or uttering (trying to pass off as legitimate) a forged check in the amount of $1,500 or higher
  • 4th degree forgery – Making, altering, possessing, or uttering a forged check for lower than $1,500 or by possessing fewer than ten blank forged checks

Punishments are:

  • 1st degree forgery – One to 15 years imprisonment
  • 2nd and 3rd degree forgery – One to five years in prison
  • 4th degree forgery – Misdemeanor – Up to 12 months in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000
  • Third or subsequent conviction of 4th degree forgery – One to five years in prison

Hawaii

Under:

  • Hawaii Revised Statutes 490:5-109 – Fraud and forgery
  • 2013 Hawaii Revised Statutes, TITLE 37. HAWAII PENAL CODE, 708. Offenses Against Property Rights, 708-853 Forgery in the third degree.
  • 2011 Hawaii Code, DIVISION 5. CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS, TITLE 37. HAWAII PENAL CODE, 708. Offenses Against Property Rights, Section708-875 Trademark counterfeiting

Punishments are:

  • 3rd degree forgery – Misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
  • 2nd degree forgery – Class C felony – Up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Forgery of government instruments – Class B felony – Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
  • Trademark counterfeiting – Class C felony. Up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000

Idaho

Under 2016 Idaho Statutes, Title 18 – CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS, Chapter 36 – FORGERY AND COUNTERFEITING, Section 18-3601 – FORGERY DEFINED, a wide range of different forms of forgery and counterfeiting are listed and criminalized. Due to this, the sentences also vary widely depending on the exact nature of the crime.

Illinois

Under Illinois Statutes Section 5/17-3 (Forgery):

  • Class 3 Felony – most are classified under this – Two to five years imprisonment, periodic imprisonment (not more than 18 months), probation or conditional discharge for not more than 30 months, fines (not more than $25,000) for every offense, and possible restitution
  • Class 4 Felony – the forged document is just one Universal Price Code Label – One to three years imprisonment, periodic imprisonment (not more than 18 months), probation or conditional discharge for not more than 30 months, fines (not exceeding $25,000), and possible restitution
  • Class A Misdemeanor – forgery of coin or an academic degree – Lower than one year in prison, probation, conditional discharge of not more than two years, a fine not exceeding $2,500, and possible restitution

Indiana

Under:

  • Code Ann. Sections 35-43-5-1, 35-43-5-2
  • Code Ann. Sections 35-43-5-1, 35-43-5-2
  • Code Ann. Section 35-43-5-2

Punishments are:

  • Class D felony (wobbler – could be felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances) for application fraud – Six months to three years imprisonment and fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Class C felony – Two to eight years imprisonment, and fine of not more than $10,000

Iowa

Under:

  • Code Ann. Section 715A.2
  • Code Ann. Section 715A.2

Punishments are:

  • Class D felony for forgery of money, securities, postage, government-issued instruments and similar specified writings – Fine of $750 to $7,500 and/or not more than five years in prison
  • Aggravated misdemeanor for forgery of will, deed, contract, commercial instrument, or any other writing or other document evidencing, creating, transferring, altering, terminating, or otherwise affecting legal relations – Fine of $625 to $6,250, and/or not more than two years in jail

Kansas

Under Kansas Statutes Chapter 21. Crimes and Punishments Section 21-5823. Forgery, forgery with intent to defraud is a severity level 8, nonperson felony. Penalties are:

  • Fine based on the amount of the forged instrument or $500 for 1st conviction
  • 30 days in prison and a fine based on the amount of the forged instrument or $1,000 for 2nd conviction
  • 45 days in prison and a fine based on the amount of the forged instrument or $2,500 for subsequent offenses

Kentucky

Under Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 516.020, the degree of forgery depends on what was forged. As such:

  • 1st degree forgery or criminal possession of a forged instrument – Class C felony – Five to 10 years in prison
  • 2nd degree forgery or criminal possession of a forged instrument – Class D felony – One to five years in prison
  • 3rd degree forgery or criminal possession of a forged instrument – Class A misdemeanor – 90 days to one year in jail and/or a fine of not more than $500
  • Possession of a forgery device – Class D felony – One to five years in prison, confiscation and disposal of device

Louisiana

Under:

  • Title 14 La. Stat. Ann. Section 72(B)
  • Title 14 La. Stat. Ann. Section 72

Punishments are:

  • Fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison
  • Knowingly using a forged academic record – Fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or six months in jail
  • Using certificates or proof of insurance – Fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or up to five years in prison
  • Forgery possession – Fine not exceeding $500 and/or six months in jail

Maine

Under Title 17-A: MAINE CRIMINAL CODE, Part 2: SUBSTANTIVE OFFENSES, Chapter 29: FORGERY AND RELATED OFFENSES, Section704, Section703. Forgery, forgery is a class B (up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $20,000), C (up to five years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $5,000), or D (not exceeding one year in jail) crime depending on the value and type of written instruments involved.

Under Title 17-A: MAINE CRIMINAL CODE, Part 2: SUBSTANTIVE OFFENSES, Chapter 29: FORGERY AND RELATED OFFENSES, Section 703, Section 702. Aggravated forgery, aggravated forgery is a class B (up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $20,000) crime.

Maryland

Under:

  • Ann. Code Section 8-601 & 8-602
  • Ann. Code Section 8-606
  • Ann. Code Section 8-606.1

Punishments:

  • Producing or knowingly using any of specified forged financial or legal instruments – fine of not more than $1,000 and/or up to ten years in prison
  • Possessing a forgery of one of the specified instruments with the intent to use it to defraud someone – fine of not more $1,000 and/or up to three years in prison.
  • Making false entries in the public record of any state or local government agency or subdivision – fine of not more than $1,000 and/or up to three years in prison
  • Forging the signature of a judge, court officer, or other state court employee – fine of not more than $10,000 and/or up to five years in prison

Massachusetts

Under:

  • Chapter 267 Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. Section 1
  • Chapter 267 Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. Section 2
  • Chapter 267 Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. Section 3
  • Chapter 267 Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. Section 7 & 8
  • Chapter 267 Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. Section 10 & 12
  • Chapter 267 Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. Section 13

Punishments:

  • Producing false writing – Up to two years in jail or up to 10 years in prison
  • Producing railroad-related documents – Fine not exceeding $500 and/or up to two years in jail or three years in prison.
  • Producing or modifying state-issued bills of credit, traveler’s checks, or banknotes – Up to life in prison.
  • Using false documents or possessing them with intent to defraud – Fine of not more $1,000 and/or one year in jail, or five years in prison.
  • Possession of forgery tools – Fine of not more than $1,000 and up to two years in jail, or up to 10 years in prison.

Michigan

Under:

  • Comp. Laws Ann. Section 750-248
  • Comp. Laws Ann. Section 750-249
  • Comp. Laws Ann. Section 750-251

Forgery is a felony – punishable by at least one year in prison, often seven to 14 years.

Minnesota

Under 609.632:

  • Producing bills or possession of materials with intent to defraud – Up to 20 years imprisonment and/or fine of not more than $100,000.
  • Possession and utterance – Up to 20 years imprisonment and fine of up to $100,00 for value above $35,000; up to 10 years imprisonment and up to $20,000 fine when the value exceeds $5,000 but not more than $35,000; up to five years imprisonment and fine of up to $10,000 when the value is more than $1,000 but only up to $5,000; up to one year in jail and fine of up to $3,000 when value is $1,000 or less for 1st offense, of up to five years imprisonment and fine up to $5,000 for subsequent offenses.

Mississippi

Under 2014 Mississippi Code, Title 97 – CRIMES, Chapter 21 – FORGERY AND COUNTERFEITING, Article 1 – GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 97-21-33 – Penalty for forgery:

  • Value under $1,000 – Up to six months in county jail and/or fine up to $1,000 if community service is not possible for 1st offense; up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000 for 2nd offense; up to three years in state penitentiary and/or fine of up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses
  • Value is $1,000 up to less than $5,000 – Up to five years in penitentiary and/or fine of up to $10,000
  • Value is $5,000 up to less than $25,000 – Up to 10 years in penitentiary and/or fine of up to $10,000
  • Value is $25,000 or more – Up to 20 years in penitentiary and/or fine of up to $10,000

Missouri

Under:

  • Missouri Revised Statutes Section 570.090, forgery is a class C felony – Three to 10 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $10,000
  • Missouri Revised Statutes Section 570.100, possession of a forged instrument is a class C felony – Three to 10 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $10,000

Montana

Under Montana Code Annotated 2017, TITLE 45. CRIMES, CHAPTER 6. OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY, Part 3. Theft and Related Offenses, Forgery, 45-6-325:

  • Value is $1,500 or lower – Fine up to $500 for 1st offense; fine of up to $500 and/or county jail for six months for 2nd offense; fine of $500 and between five days and one year in county jail for subsequent offenses
  • Value is higher than $1,500 up to $5,000 – Fine up to $1,500 and/or up to three years in state prison for 1st offense; fine of $1,500 and/or up to five years in state prison; two and a half to five years in state prison and fine of up to $5,000
  • Value is higher than $5,000 – Fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in state prison

Nebraska

Under Nebraska Revised Statutes 28-602, 1st degree felony is a class II felony – up to four years in prison and two years post-release supervision and/or fine up to $25,000.

Under Nebraska Revised Statutes 28-603, 2nd degree forgery is:

  • Class IIA felony for value of $5,000 or higher
  • Class IV felony for value of $1,500 up to less than $5,000
  • Class I misdemeanor for value below $1,500

Penalties range from up to one year to up to three years imprisonment and 18 months post-release supervision and/or a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.

Nevada

Under NRS 205.090, forgery is a category D felony:

  • One to four years in Nevada prison
  • Fine up to $5,000
  • Restitution

New Hampshire

Under 2010 New Hampshire Statutes, TITLE LXII CRIMINAL CODE, CHAPTER 638 FRAUD, Section 638:1 Forgery is a class B misdemeanor with penalties of up to $1,200 in fines.

New Jersey

Under:

  • J. Stat. Ann. Section2C:21-1
  • J. Stat. Ann. Section2C:21-2.4

Punishments are:

  • 3rd degree forgery – Various types of documents and possession of forgery device. Between three and five years imprisonment and/or fine of at least $500.
  • 4th degree forgery – Other documents and possession of at least 15 altered or forged UPC labels. Up to 18 months in prison and/or fine of at least $200.
  • Disorderly person forgery – Possession of a single altered of forged UPC label. Up to six months in prison and/or fine of at least $100

New Mexico

Under 2011 New Mexico Statutes, Chapter 30: Criminal Offenses, Article 31: Controlled Substances, 30-31-1 through 30-31-41, Section 30-31-22: Controlled or counterfeit substances; distribution prohibited:

  • Counterfeit Schedule I, II, III, or IV substance – 4th degree felony, up to 18 months imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000.
  • Counterfeit Schedule V substance – petty misdemeanor, up to $100 fine and/or up to six months imprisonment.
  • Intending to deliver a counterfeit Schedule I, II, III, or IV substance – 3rd degree felony, up to three years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000.
  • Intending to deliver a counterfeit Schedule V substance – Misdemeanor, between $100 and $500 fine and/or between 180 days and one year imprisonment.

Under 2011 New Mexico Statutes, Chapter 60: Business Licenses, Article 2E: Gaming Control, 60-2E-1 through 60-2E-62, Section 60-2E-51: Crime; use of counterfeit or unapproved tokens, currency or devices; possession of certain devices, equipment, products or materials – 3rd degree felony, up to 18 months imprisonment and/or fine up to $5,000.

New York

Under:

  • Y. Penal Law Section 170.05
  • Y. Penal Law Section 170.00

Punishments:

  • 1st degree felony forgery for securities, stamps, and other valuable instruments. Class C felony, up to 15 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000 or twice the gain, whichever is greater
  • 2nd degree felony forgery for certain official documents. Class D felony, up to seven years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000 or twice the gain, whichever is greater
  • 3rd degree misdemeanor forgery. Class A misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000

North Carolina

Under:

  • C. Gen. Stat. Sections 14-119, 14-121, 14-122, 14-124, 14-125
  • C. Gen. Stat. Section 14-120

Punishments vary tremendously depending on what was forged. As such:

  • Forged instruments
    • Possessing, altering, creation – Class I felony – Four to 10 months in prison and/or fine
    • Possessing or transporting at least five forged instruments – Class G felony – 10 to 25 months in prison and/or fine
  • Wills, deeds, leases, and so on is a class H felony – Five to 20 months in prison and/or fine
  • Corporate securities – Class I felony, four to 10 months imprisonment and/or fine
  • Educational certificates – Class 1 misdemeanor, up to 45 days in jail and/or fine
  • Uttering a forged item – Class I felony, four to 10 months in prison and/or fine
  • Selling a forged item – Class H felony, up to 20 months imprisonment and/or fine

North Dakota

Under North Dakota Code 12.1-24-03 – Deceptive writings:

  • Class B felony for value over $10,000. Up to 10 years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
  • Class C felony for value of $1,000 to $10,000. Up to five years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
  • Class A misdemeanor for value of $1,000 or less. Up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 fines.

Under North Dakota Code 12.1-24-02 – Facilitation of counterfeiting is a class B felony.

Under North Dakota Code 12.1-24-01 – Forgery or counterfeiting

  • Class A felony for government securities. Value is more than $50,000. Up to 20 years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
  • Class B felony for government securities. Value is more than $10,000 up to $50,000. Up to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
  • Class C felony where the actor is a public servant or similar for value of more than $1,000. Up to five years imprisonment and fines up to $5,000.
  • Class A misdemeanor for other cases. Up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines

Ohio

Under Ohio Revised Code Title XXIX. Crimes Procedure Sections:

  • 11 (Passing Bad Checks)
  • 21 (Misuse of Credit Cards)
  • 31 (Forgery)
  • 34 (Trademark Counterfeiting)

Punishments are:

  • 2nd degree felony – Two to eight years imprisonment, fine of up to $15,000
  • 3rd degree felony – Nine, 12, 18, 24, 30, or 36 months imprisonment, fine of up to $10,000
  • 4th degree felony – Six to 18 months imprisonment, fine of up to $5,000
  • 5th degree felony – Six to 12 months imprisonment, fine of up to $2,500
  • 1st degree misdemeanor – Up to 180 days in jail, fine of up to $1,000

Oklahoma

Under:

  • 2014 Oklahoma Statutes, Title 21. Crimes and Punishments, Section21-1591. Possession of counterfeit coin
  • 2014 Oklahoma Statutes, Title 21. Crimes and Punishments, Section21-1578. Possession of forged evidences of debt
  • 2014 Oklahoma Statutes, Title 21. Crimes and Punishments, Section21-1592. Uttering forged instruments or coin

Punishments are:

  • Forgery in the First Degree – Seven to 20 years imprisonment
  • Forgery in the Second Degree – Up to seven years imprisonment
  • Misdemeanor Forgery Crimes – Up to six months in jail and/or fine up to $500

Oregon

Under 2015 ORS 165.013, Forgery in the first degree, forgery is a class C felony – Up to five years imprisonment

Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 41, Section 4101 (Forgery):

  • 1st degree misdemeanor – Up to five years imprisonment and/or up to $10,000 in fines
  • 3rd degree felony – Up to seven years imprisonment and/or up to $15,000 in fines
  • 2nd degree felony – Up to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to $25,000 in fines

Rhode Island

2012 Rhode Island General Laws,  Title 11 – Criminal Offenses, Chapter 11-17 – Forgery and Counterfeiting, Chapter 11-17-1 – Forgery and counterfeiting in general, punishment is up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fine up to $1,000.

South Carolina

Under 2013 South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 16 – Crimes and Offenses, CHAPTER 13 – FORGERY, LARCENY, EMBEZZLEMENT, FALSE PRETENSES AND CHEATS, SECTION 16-13-10. Forgery:

  • Value of $10,000 or higher – Felony – Up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fine
  • Value below $10,000 – Felony – Up to five years imprisonment and/or fine
  • Forgery without dollar value – Misdemeanor – Up to three years imprisonment and/or fine
  • Forgery of diploma, transcript, or GED – Misdemeanor – Up to one year imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine

South Dakota

Under South Dakota Codified Laws 22-39-36. Forgery is a class 5 felony – Up to five years in state penitentiary and/or fine of up to $10,000

Tennessee

Under 2010 Tennessee Code, Title 39 – Criminal Offenses, Chapter 14 – Offenses Against Property, Part 1 – Theft, 39-14-114 – Forgery

  • Value is $500 and below – Class A misdemeanor – Up to 11 months and 20 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,500
  • Value is higher than $500 but lower than $1,000 – Class E felony – One to six years in prison and fine of up to $3,000
  • Value is higher than $1,000 but lower than $10,000 – Class D felony – Two to 12 years in prison and fine of up to $5,000
  • Value is higher than $10,000 but lower than $60,000 – Class C felony – Three to 15 years in prison and fine of up to $10,000
  • Value is higher $60,000 but less than $250,000 – Class B felony – Eight to 30 years in prison and fine of up to $25,000
  • Value is $250,000 or more – Class A felony – 15 to 60 years in prison and fine of up to $50,000

Texas

Under Texas Penal Code – PENAL Section 32.21. Forgery:

  • State jail felony for financial account forgeries. 18 months to two years in jail, fine up to $10,000
  • 3rd degree felony for paper money, government records, and other such documents. Two to ten years in prison, fine up to $10,000
  • Misdemeanor forgery for all other forgeries. Class A misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and/or fine up to $4,000
  • Enhanced sentence if victim is elderly

Utah

Under Utah Code, Title 76 Utah Criminal Code, Chapter 6 Offenses Against Property, Part 5 Fraud, Section 501 Forgery and producing false identification — Elements of offense — Definitions. (Effective 5/10/2016):

  • 3rd degree felony. Up to five years imprisonment, fine up to $5,000
  • 2nd degree felony. One to 15 years imprisonment, fine up to $10,000

Vermont

Under 2014 Vermont Statutes, Title 13 – Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Chapter 43 – FORGERY AND COUNTERFEITING, there are 16 different types of counterfeiting and forgery. Each of those has different penalties and punishments associated with them.

Virginia

Under Va. Ann. Code Sections 18.2-168, -170, & -172:

  • Forging public documents is a class 4 felony – Fine of up to $100,000 and two to ten years in prison.
  • Forging other writings, including signatures, is a class 5 felony – Fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to one year in jail; or one to 10 years in prison.

Washington

Under RCW 9.16.035, Counterfeiting – Penalties.

  • Gross misdemeanor for second offenses, 100 to 1,000 items, or value is higher than $1,000 but less than $10,000. Up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
  • Class C felony for third or repeat offenses, counterfeit marks, over 1,000 items, or value is $10,000 or higher. Up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Class C felony for counterfeit marks, endangering others’ health and safety. Up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
  • All will have a fine of three times the value of the counterfeited items.

West Virginia

Under WEST VIRGINIA CODE, CHAPTER 61. CRIMES AND THEIR PUNISHMENT, ARTICLE 4. FORGERY AND CRIMES AGAINST THE CURRENCY, there are numerous different crimes associated with forgery. Each of those crimes has different values, penalties, and sentences associated with them.

Wisconsin

Under Section 943.38 & 943.39:

  • Forging a check. 943.38(1) Wisconsin Statutes.
  • Uttering a forgery*. 38(2) Wisconsin Statutes.
  • Possession of a forged writing with intent to utter. 38(2)
  • Falsifying corporate records. 39(1)
  • Obtaining a signature by fraud. 39(2)

Penalties range up to 6 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

Wyoming

Under 2014 Wyoming Statutes, TITLE 6 – CRIMES AND OFFENSES, CHAPTER 3 – OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY, ARTICLE 6 – FRAUD, 6-3-602. Forgery; penalties.

  • Felony – Up to 10 years imprisonment, fine of up to $10,000
  • Misdemeanor – Up to six months imprisonment, fine up to $750

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