Connecticut Counterfeiting Lawyer
The fancy shops and boutiques of Greenwich, Westport, Stamford and New Canaan Connecticut attract shoppers from all around the tri-state area. However, as the top Stamford and Greenwich criminal lawyers have observed, they also attract a significant number of counterfeiting crimes, resulting in arrests in Stamford, Greenwich and Fairfield Connecticut for counterfeiting and forgery. In fact, counterfeiting is not only a crime, but it is also a profitable and illegal business enterprise. You see, the best Connecticut criminal attorneys and lawyers know that counterfeiting does not just apply to the production of fake money or government instruments for financial gain, but it also includes illegally replicating, altering and selling trademarked goods and merchandise, like movies, designer handbags, leather goods and sneakers. Connecticut Counterfeiting arrests typically arise from online scams, flea markets, and street vendor arrests in Connecticut’s largest cities. Counterfeiting in any form is a serious offense and as any top Stamford or Darien Connecticut theft lawyer will tell you, Connecticut law enforcement officials are cracking down on counterfeiting stings by raiding local stores as well as aggressively investigating counterfeit money stings. So if you are arrested for counterfeiting goods, purses, United States currency, government bonds or other instruments, you should contact a top Stamford, Danbury, or Greenwich Connecticut counterfeiting lawyer for a consultation.
Counterfeit Money Arrests in Connecticut – Forgery in the First Degree – CGS 53a-138
The most common counterfeiting arrest in Connecticut is the act of counterfeiting money. But Connecticut counterfeiting law also prohibits the act of manufacturing fake securities, stamps, stocks, bonds, or government instruments, also known as Forgery in the First Degree under C.G.S. § 53a-138. The best Connecticut criminal counterfeiting lawyers make it illegal for someone, with the intention to defraud, to falsely and knowingly make, alter, issue or possess a forged written instrument that is represented as money, securities, stamps, valuable government instruments, bonds or stocks. Using counterfeit money to make purchases is illegal under this section. This crime is a Class C felony. So if you are arrested in Stamford or Greenwich Connecticut for Forgery in the First Degree, you can face a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, probation and face up to $10,000 in fines. Click here for more information on Forgery and how to fight a Forgery arrest in Connecticut.
Counterfeiting Goods – Statute & Penalties
Counterfeiting goods and merchandise is prohibited under Connecticut criminal law per penal code section C.G.S. 53-347a (click here for the full text of the law). This law lays out a wide range of prohibited conduct, which can be difficult for even a top Stamford criminal lawyer or top Danbury Connecticut criminal attorney to understand. It is broken down into three different sections.
The first section, CGS 53-347a(a) declares it illegal to: (1) use or counterfeit a manufacturer’s label with the intention of defrauding someone, or (2) sell or offer to sell goods that you know bear a phony label, without disclosing this fact to the buyer. For example, if you sell a purse that bears an unauthorized reproduction of a Gucci label, without informing the buyer that it is not authentic, then you can be arrested in Stamford, Greenwich, or New Haven Connecticut for Counterfeiting Goods.
The second and third sections under the Connecticut counterfeiting statute, CGS 53-347a(b) and a(c) deal with illegally tampering with and affixing trademarks and logos to fake products and merchandise. The statute declares it illegal to intentionally, fraudulently and deceptively (1) affix a trademark or an unauthorized imitation of a trademark to goods, (2) place goods in a lawfully trademarked package other than those for which the trademark is designed, or (3) sell or possess with the intention of selling any of the goods described above. Conduct that would be prohibited under this sub-section of the Connecticut Counterfeiting Goods statute would include putting an authentic Nike symbol on a pair of sneakers that are not in fact Nikes, or placing those non-Nike sneakers in a trademarked Nike package, in order to pass them off to an unsuspecting buyer.
Maximum Statutory Fine for a 53-347 Counterfeiting Goods Arrest is $250,000
As the top Fairfield and Norwalk criminal lawyers know, one unusual aspect of Connecticut Counterfeiting Goods law is the exposure to exorbitantly high fines. Counterfeiting Goods arrests in Stamford, Greenwich and Darien Connecticut are considered Class D felonies, meaning that if you are found guilty of Counterfeiting Goods 53-347 under any of the three sections of this statute, then you can be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison. But then the statute diverges from a typical Connecticut Class D Felony arrest. If you are found guilty after an arrest in Stamford, Greenwich or Westport Connecticut for Counterfeiting Goods under CGS 53-347, you can be fined up to $250,000. This high fine amount is meant to protect manufacturers who invest millions of dollars in protecting their merchandise such as sneakers and handbags. It is also meant to send a message to counterfeiters who are usually more concerned about their money than jail time. So if you are arrested for Counterfeiting Goods in Connecticut under CGS 53-347, be sure to contact a top Stamford Connecticut Counterfeiting criminal lawyer who can work with you and attempt to protect you from ridiculously high fine amounts and jail sentences.
Conspiracy Arrests in Connecticut Counterfeiting Arrests
One common police pressure tactic in Connecticut counterfeiting arrests takes place when police and prosecutors tack on a 53a-48 Conspiracy arrest charge to a Stamford Connecticut counterfeiting arrest. Aggressive police detectives often believe that a counterfeiting scam starts with a ring of counterfeiters, and they believe if they can scare one participant enough into believing they are going to jail for a majority of their lifetime, then they can perhaps pressure them to squeal on other conspirators. Don’t fall victim to these aggressive police interrogation tactics. Always exercise your constitutional right to speak to a top Connecticut criminal lawyer before making any statements to a police officer. Click here for more information on Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut conspiracy arrests.
Fighting Your Connecticut Counterfeiting & Forgery Arrest
Hiring a top Stamford Connecticut counterfeiting criminal lawyer to fight your Stamford Connecticut counterfeiting forgery arrest should be a priority in your court battle with state prosecutors. A well-thought out defense strategy is critical in defending a counterfeiting case. As any of the best Connecticut criminal lawyers would agree, you can fight your Connecticut counterfeiting arrest on several fronts. First, it is possible that you were not intentionally possessing or distributing counterfeit money, goods or merchandise. Often counterfeit money and goods look identical to an innocent purchaser and you may have had no idea that your subsequent distribution of this contraband was against the law. In cases like these, you must put state prosecutors and police to their proof. Make them prove intent. Make them prove you knowingly possessed or distributed counterfeit money or merchandise. Additionally, your top Stamford Connecticut criminal attorney will carefully review police reports, witness statements and forensic evidence for material omissions and constitutional defects. If appropriate, motions to dismiss and motions to suppress evidence may have to be filed with the court, even if they ruffle the feathers of heavy-handed prosecutors and district attorneys. With your freedom and reputation on the line, it’s not the time to pussyfoot around the courthouse with smiles and formalities. You need an aggressive Stamford criminal attorney who is ready to take your case to trial if necessary.
Can I Get a First-Time Offender Diversionary Program for My Counterfeiting Arrest?
Possibly. The top Westport, Wilton or Danbury criminal lawyers will explain to you that if you have been arrested for a Class C or D felony counterfeiting charge, then you may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program (often called “AR” around the Connecticut criminal courthouses). If granted, this AR program suspends the prosecution of your Connecticut counterfeiting case and if you successfully complete the program, then the court dismisses and expunges your Connecticut counterfeiting arrest in its entirety. Eligibility for the AR Program depends on a few factors. First, you must be a first-time offender – anyone who has a criminal conviction record from any state will not be able to enter the program. Next, your crime must be an offense that is not so serious in nature so as to warrant the denial of the program. Finally, after the judge hears argument and reviews legal briefs from your top Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyer, the judge must make a finding that you are not likely to re-offend in the future. Obviously, a lot of these factors lie in the sole and absolute discretion of the Connecticut Superior court judge, making it all the more important that your top Connecticut criminal counterfeiting lawyer present the best possible argument and written presentation to the court. The extent to which you were involved in any counterfeiting conduct might affect the judge’s decision. To this end, your top Stamford Connecticut forgery lawyer might advise you to engage in certain rehabilitation tasks prior to making your AR application, such as engaging in community service, mental health counseling, or inpatient drug or alcohol abuse rehab. The good news is that if your application is granted, then your Counterfeiting arrest will be dismissed and expunged in its entirety—a grand slam home run in any Connecticut counterfeiting arrest case.
Can I Get Federally Indicted and Arrested in Federal Court for Counterfeiting?
Absolutely. This issue is always an unsettling fact that hangs over anyone arrested in Connecticut state court for counterfeiting. If the feds believe you are a leader or operator of a counterfeiting scam, then they may also prosecute you in federal court for counterfeiting, where they know that you know (or your top Connecticut counterfeiting lawyer knows) that the jail maximums are much higher than state court penalties. As the best Connecticut counterfeiting criminal lawyers would advise, while counterfeiting money and merchandise is a crime in the State of Connecticut, counterfeiting is also a federal crime subject to prosecution in any of the Connecticut federal courts. This means that if you are facing charges in Connecticut State Superior Court for counterfeiting, then you can also be prosecuted by federal authorities such as the FBI, Secret Service and United States Attorney’s office.
What are the Federal Laws Prohibiting Counterfeiting Goods & Merchandise?
If with the intent to deceive a consumer, affix an unauthorized imitation of a recorded trademark upon a product that is similar to those that the trademark is designed for, then you can be charged not only state law C.G.S. § 53-347a, but you can also be charged under federal criminal law 18 U.S.C.A. 2320. This section of the United States federal law prohibits trafficking in goods that you know carry counterfeit logos, marks or trafficking in labels or packaging that you know a counterfeit mark has been affixed to and that is likely to deceive others. A conviction under this Section of the United States Code can result in a fine of up to $2,000,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years – penalties far more severe than those mandated by the Connecticut criminal law governing Counterfeiting goods. For a complete list of conduct prohibited under 18 U.S.C. § 2320, click here.
Federal Criminal Laws Prohibiting the Counterfeiting of Money
The United States Secret Service usually investigates and prosecutes United States currency counterfeiting. Conduct prohibited by Connecticut’s Forgery statutes is also prohibited under a number of federal statutes that can be found in Title 18, Chapter 25 of the United States Code, Counterfeiting and Forgery. The statutes under this Chapter prohibit conduct such as falsely making, passing, selling or dealing fake money or securities. So if you have been arrested for First Degree Forgery in Connecticut, the feds may choose to take over the prosecution of your case and have your case transferred to federal court for prosecution under any number of statutes in Title 18, Chapter 25 of the United States Code. Convictions for violations of these federal counterfeiting statutes can result in very lengthy sentences of up to 25 years in prison.
So with the risk of your Connecticut state counterfeiting arrest going federal at any time, it makes sense to contact a top Connecticut counterfeiting criminal lawyer attorney to begin getting in front your state counterfeiting charges. Contacting an attorney that is well-versed in both Connecticut state and federal crimes is critical in counterfeiting cases, where you may very well find yourself facing charges in State and Federal Court at the same time, or undergoing a federal investigation while your State charges are pending in a Connecticut Superior Court. Hiring two sets of attorneys to handle the respective state and federal cases does not make sense. Go with a top Stamford or New Canaan criminal lawyer who can handle your entire case—state and federal—from start to finish.
Contact A Connecticut Counterfeiting Criminal Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law Today
As you can see, Connecticut counterfeiting laws pack a one-two punch—stiff jail sentences coupled with sky-high six figure fines. All the more reason to not go it alone and to consult a Connecticut counterfeiting lawyer who can help you through the criminal court process. The team of experienced and aggressive criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are prepared to sit with you and your family, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and provide you with an honest assessment of your case, from a both a risk-benefit analysis and a cost-benefit perspective. Our goal is results. So contact a Mark Sherman Law criminal attorney today to start fighting your Connecticut counterfeiting arrest. We are available 24/7 to take your call at (203) 358-4700.