Counterfeited products can be found everywhere form street vendors to legitimate-looking stores. Moreover, online shops actively sell counterfeited goods by using their opportunity to defraud consumers via internet. Only after receiving fake item the consumer understands that the good is counterfeited.
In U.S., counterfeiting is considered to be a felony. In California, it is punishable under California criminal law as well as civil laws. Convicted of counterfeiting can face penalties ranging from injunctions to imprisonment.
Nowadays, organized criminal groups have specialized in counterfeiting. Thus, it poses more serious danger and threats to the health and safety of citizens, and even national economies and security.
Below, The Margarian Law Firmwill introduce you the definition and main types of the crime of counterfeiting in California. In addition, in the resources of our site you can find detailed information about different kind of white-collar crimes in California.

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

1. Legal Definition of Counterfeiting in California
2. Elements of the Counterfeiting Crime
3. When Counterfeiting Can Be Committed?
a) What Is California Penal Code 478?
b) Counterfeiting of Goods
4. Penalties for Counterfeiting
a) White-Collar Crimes Enhancement Law
5. Legal Defenses against Counterfeiting Charges

In addition, we are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning white-collar crimes in California for free.

1. Legal Definition of Counterfeiting in California
Under California Penal Code, the crime of counterfeiting consists of the process of fraudulently
– manufacturing,
– altering,
– or distributing
a product that is of lesser value than the genuine product.

2. Elements of the Crime of Counterfeiting 
In California, the main element of the crime of counterfeiting is the criminal intent of the offender to defraud. Thus, if the criminal did not have any knowledge of committing counterfeit, it makes the prosecution efforts useless.

3. When Counterfeiting Can Be Committed?
a) What Is California Penal Code 478(counterfeiting money)?
Any person who counterfeiting money, even if he or she has not printed or coined it, can be charged with breaking the federal and state law. California law prohibits from counterfeiting of any type of financial documents, including money. The differentiation of whether the crime is federal or state is the following: a) U.S. federal law governs paper money and negotiable coins, b) California law particularly charges with possession or distribution of counterfeit gold or silver. Because paper money and negotiable coins are minted under the authority of the federal government, the counterfeiting of currency is governed by federal law.
b) Counterfeiting of Goods
Any good can become the object of counterfeiting. Example: CD’s and DVD’s, medications, airplane or automobile parts, toys and so on.
The practice of counterfeiting of goods consists of manufacturing them and sell under a brand name while it is not allowed by the owner of the trademark. In this case, the trademark is identical or substantially indistinguishable from brand owner’s trademark.
Some people believe that counterfeiting has no victims. However, it can have far going consequences. Counterfeiting of goods can cause health and safety problems, for example, if the manufacturer produces toys for children or medications for ill people. The issue is that counterfeited products are not made with the same quality and they do not correspond to the standards of manufacture. Additionally, counterfeited products cause financial damages to brand owners and reduce the trust in the brands.

4. Penalties for Counterfeiting
In California, the crime of counterfeiting is considered to be a felony. It is punishable by two (2) or four (4) years of imprisonment in state prison, a fine of $1000 or both.
Nonetheless, California laws permit a misdemeanor prosecution for the counterfeiting for specified items, such as transit tickets or sports trading cards.
If the case against defendant is brought by federal prosecutor, the conviction must be under federal laws.

a) White-Collar Crimes Enhancement Law
If the prosecution is able to show the pattern of criminal conduct pertaining to forgery, counterfeiting or other white collar crime by the defendant, it may be seek an additional two (2) to five (5) years of imprisonment for the current charges.

The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. Each defense will be developed upon the facts of your individual case. Do not hesitate to contact us. You will get your legal assistance as soon as you contact us. We handle every aspect of your case, from the first step to the very last court hearing.

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

5. Which Legal Defenses Can Be Used Against Counterfeiting Charges?

Your California defense attorney can use various legal defenses in order to reduce or dismiss the charge. Below, we represent some of them.
Lack of intent
False confessions
False accusations
Plea bargain and dismissals
California Entrapment
– Etc.

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