Federal counterfeiting charges can bring severe consequences

The term counterfeiting does not refer only to the illegal reproduction of a nation's currency. It also refers to the creation and distribution of products or services without legal permission from the owner or originator. Stealing the design and distinct qualities of a commercial product is a serious problem in the United States and around the world. The act is a crime under federal law. Anyone caught distributing such products can be held on federal charges whether or not they were involved in the manufacturing of the items in question.

Counterfeiting has serious penalties because it infringes on intellectual property rights and trademarks. In addition, counterfeited goods are generally lower in quality than the items they copy, so the likelihood of injury from these products is higher. Counterfeit products are often purchased and resold by vendors who are unaware of their illegal origins, turning those who want to make extra income selling them into unintentional accomplices.

Anyone who traffics in counterfeit goods faces tough penalties, including a prison term of as many as 10 years and fines of up to $2 million. In the most serious cases, people convicted on counterfeiting charges receive the maximum fine and the maximum prison sentence. A second conviction doubles the incarceration to up to 20 years and increases the maximum fine up to $5 million.

Any Oregonian who is facing this type of federal charge has the right to fight the charges in court. In many cases, the individual charged with trafficking in the products did not know they were counterfeit. If the prosecution cannot prove the necessary element of criminal intent, the charges should be dismissed.

Under some circumstances, the accused may choose to accept a plea deal to significantly reduce the penalties. In both situations, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be invaluable in making sure the rights of the accused are protected.


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