Do you think of counterfeiting as something that involves printing fake dollar bills in a basement? Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s far more common for people to counterfeit manufactured goods of some sort to distribute them under another person or company’s name for profit or personal benefit.
Counterfeiting can be either a federal or state crime depending on the nature of the offense, including the products involved and where the alleged crime occurs.
You may find it helpful to learn what constitutes counterfeiting and why prosecutors are so aggressive in fighting such offenses. This knowledge may aid you in building a defense strategy in your case.
How big of an issue is counterfeiting?
Data compiled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials shows that individuals attempted to bring $1.3 billion worth of counterfeit goods into the U.S. in 2020. In addition, many legal analysts argue that global demand fuels this enterprise.
What products are often counterfeited?
Various consumer industries are plagued by counterfeit goods, including:
- Airplane and auto parts
Many legal analysts argue that consumers’ preferences for purchasing things cheaply motivate them to buy counterfeited items without acknowledging the dangers.
Why do prosecutors pursue charges so aggressively?
Prosecutors are aggressive about counterfeiting charges because they know that counterfeiters tend to make their items from cheaper, inferior materials. They also do so because they know that these items often have dangerous components that can put consumers’ health and safety at risk.
Prosecutors are also aggressive in pursuing counterfeiters because they worry they could make consumers vulnerable to identity theft or credit card fraud by purchasing these goods or services on illicit websites.
Prosecutors also often associate counterfeit goods with organized crime rings or child labor mills. In addition, counterfeit goods damage the reputation of legitimate brands and deprive them of income.
How should you proceed if you’re facing counterfeiting charges?
Prosecutors tend to come down hard on defendants engaged in counterfeiting because it’s a crime that negatively affects many people. The penalties for financially motivated crimes such as counterfeiting are generally harsh. You’ll want to put up a solid defense in your case if you’re facing such charges.