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What is the Crime of Counterfeiting?


What are the Federal Counterfeiting statutes

18 USC 489

18 U.S.C. 489 is the main Federal Counterfeiting statute. It applies to a lot more than just using a high quality copy machine and printing money. Section 489 of Title 18 prohibits the making of any token, disc, or device in the likeness or similitude of coins in the United States, except under the authority of the United States Secretary of the Treasury.

18 USC 475

Title 18 U.S.C. § 475 prohibits the making, distribution, or use of any business card, notice, placard, handbill, or advertisement in the likeness or similitude of an obligation or security of the United States.

18 USC 471 & 18 USC 485

The most common view of counterfeiting is the counterfeiting of coins (18 U.S.C. 485) or currency (18 U.S.C. § 471).

18 USC 475 & 18 USC 489

It is fun for collectors to buy reproductions of coins, especially rare coins. This is legal under Title 18 U.S.C. §§ 475 and 489. These define the rules for reproductions which are made in the general design of coins or currency but which vary sufficiently in detail that they have no serious potential for use in place of genuine money.