Federal Counterfeiting Defense Attorney – 18 U.S.C. § 2320
Financial gain has become an important factor in our society, so important that sometimes people are put in bad situations where they use illegal means for financial gain. When it comes to individuals who think they're going to traffic in either services or goods, if it's done on a significant scale where there's a lot of money involved, or there's big companies involved, the federal government will come in and they will prosecute these cases.
I had one case many years ago where Johnson's Baby Shampoo was being counterfeited — knocked off — and thousands of dollars were being made in downtown Los Angeles by this one big entity.
Obviously, Johnson's Baby Shampoo finds out about it and they call the federal government. The federal government puts the FBI on it. The next thing you know, my client's being arrested, prosecuted and charged at the federal level. There's a lot of different moving parts.
There's a lot of different people involved, but if they can tie you to some sort of counterfeiting of goods or services, the federal government will come in, they will arrest you and they will prosecute you.
If you're making thousands dollars on it and are costing a company like Johnson & Johnson, or any of these big company's money, then you're going to see the feds come in and arrest you. They're going to be looking to put you in prison. They're going to be looking to take thousands of dollars away from you and stop you from having the ability to counterfeit these goods or services anymore.
18 U.S.C. § 2320 – Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods or Services
Under 18 U.S. Code § 2320, it's a federal offense traffic in goods or services and knowingly uses a counterfeit mark in connection with such goods or services. So, if you've got one of these cases where they're claiming that you're counterfeiting — sometimes there's issues with this — sometimes you have your own brand. You have your own thing.
It may look similar to somebody else's brand, but you really haven't counterfeited anything and the other people are just angry because they're losing money and clientele and so they have put the federal government on you to try to block you and stop you from doing this. Obviously, this would be an impermissible use of the federal government.
This would not be a counterfeiting case. This would be a case where somebody is trying to gain a civil advantage by using the criminal authorities.
To counterfeit is to create a duplication of something and pass it on as being authentic. Most of the counterfeit federal violations arise when a person creates or prints counterfeit currency (cash) to replicate genuine currency printed by the government, but may also include counterfeit documents or counterfeit goods.
These charges include the possession, the manufacturing, the passing, and the conspiracy to manufacture, possess, and pass counterfeit currency, documents, or goods.
I'll tell you right now, the federal government and prosecutors are pretty smart. They know when it's a situation where somebody's trying to use them to their advantage and they know where it's a situation where someone is actually counterfeiting a big company's goods causing them to lose money and doing something that impermissible and that they shouldn't be doing. 18 U.S.C. 471 defines the federal crime of counterfeit currency.
Experienced Federal Criminal Lawyers
So, if you've got one of these cases and feel like you're being prosecuted in the wrong way and feel that you're not being treated the right way, then obviously, you'll need to get a federal criminal defense attorney.
You'll need somebody who has done these cases before, who can challenge the government, negotiate with it, and show the government when they're wrong. That's somebody like me who has been doing this for twenty-five years. I have a lot of experience dealing with counterfeit good-related offenses cases where services are involved.
So, if you've got one of these cases and are being charged at the federal level, an Assistant United States Attorney is prosecuting your case even if it's at the pre-filing stage where nothing has been filed against you yet.
However, you know you're being investigated, and you know you're in trouble, and you know you need to start making pre-emptive moves to defend yourself, to help yourself, to get your version of events across to the feds or whoever else is attempting to investigate you, come and sit down. We'll go over everything under the cloak of the attorney/client privilege in my office and get this thing moving in the right direction. Our defense lawyers are not here to judge but to help you escape such situations.
Counterfeiting has become common these days and is a serious federal offense that carries heavy penalties depending on the operation's size. If you are being charged with counterfeiting, you may face up to 20 years in prison and excessive fines, and that is why you need to retain an experienced and aggressive defense attorney.
Our Counterfeiting defense attorneys know how the federal system works, and we have a combined 75 years of experience in handling federal (as well as state) criminal charges.
If you are being charged with counterfeiting, it is important to determine your role in the operation, which makes a difference in the sentencing and fines imposed. Contact the federal criminal lawyers at the Hedding Law Firm to review the details of your case.