SW Legal studies in Business

Low-Quality Counterfeit Money Can Support Counterfeiting Conviction
Description

A cashier at a store who knowingly accepted counterfeit bills that were made on a color copier machine could be convicted of conspiracy to engage in counterfeiting. The jury accepted the fact that the fake money looked real enough to justify conviction.

Topic Criminal Law
Key Words

Counterfeiting; Conspiracy; Evidence

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Barrett bought drugs from a dealer named Carlos. When Barrett could not pay, Carlos began to threaten Barrett and his wife, Horton, and their children. To stop the threats, Barrett and Horton agreed that Carlos could use Horton’s copier to make fake money in exchange for the money owed. Carlos made color copies of $100 bills. He asked Horton to pass the bills for him. She got a friend, Porter, who worked at Wal-Mart to help. Horton bought $500 worth of Wal-Mart gift cards from Porter’s cash register and gave Porter five counterfeit $100 bills. When Wal-Mart discovered the fake bills, the police were called. Porter was questioned and agreed to cooperate in the investigation. She was later convicted for conspiring to engage in counterfeiting. She appealed, contending that the counterfeit money did not look real.

Decision

Affirmed. The evidence supported the conviction for conspiracy to engage in counterfeiting. The fake bills were used as evidence, and the jury found that they sufficiently looked like real currency to accept the charge of counterfeiting. The bills did not look like “Monopoly money” so as to be an obvious fake. Porter knowingly participated in the scheme to pass the counterfeit money.

Citation

U.S. v. Porter, 542 F.3d 1088 (5th Cir., 2008)

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