Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Massachusetts Federal Officers Investigate The White Collar Crime Of Counterfeiting

As the Chuck Turner trial churns on, other white collar crimes are being investigated in the Commonwealth of Mass. The potential defendants include folks from all backgrounds…even the mentally impaired.

Let’s turn to the town of Lowell. On Tuesday, staff at a local bank suddenly became suspicious when they came upon a rather unusual bill.

What was strange was the amount of the bill. It was a $10,000 bill.

Unless the bearer of the bill (hereinafter, the “Bearer”) had been saving the bill for a very long time, it was clear that the bill was false. You see, it would appear that such bills were released in a very limited amount back in the 1930’s.

The bills are no longer in circulation.

The bank contacted the police, who notified the United States Secret Service, which is the federal agency that investigates counterfeiting.

No arrests have resulted and the matter is still being investigated. According to the police, the Bearer may have mental health issues.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Counterfeiting is a crime involving the United States currency. Therefore, it is a crime which falls under federal jurisdiction.

If you are in the Bearer’s position, this is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that, should they decide to prosecute you, they really have the expertise and time to do it. The good news is that they often look behind the patently obvious (i.e., that you are holding the counterfeit bill) and try to connect it to other counterfeiting that may be going on.

At any given point, there are ongoing investigations about such things and so the feds are more likely to understand that you got the bill from someone else.

Maybe.

Before you write today’s blog off as just an interesting anecdote, think again. What if it were you unknowingly passing a counterfeit bill to a store or a bank? And what if the feds were not interested in the case?

You have now tried to pass a bad bill. Perhaps it was even caught on video.

“Well, if I did not know it was not a good bill, then I would not be responsible, right?”

Well, maybe, but how are you going to show that you did not know it was counterfeit?

You see, in a situation like this, you are suddenly thrust into a position of having to try to prove your innocence. After all, you have been caught with the goods!

“But how are we supposed to do that when you keep suggesting that we should usually decline talking to the police?”

Ahh, and there is the nuance in the situation. There is no blanket rule and I certainly do not say that, in every circumstance, never speak to a police officer. What I do suggest, however, is that, if you are suspected of a crime, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney first to help light your path.

Then, together you can decide on the best course of action.

“What about the fact that she has mental health issues?”

That will not be dispositive. The law is clear that even someone found to be mentally retarded can be charged, tried and convicted in a crime.

If you have been accused of a crime, and would like to discuss the strategy and potential defenses with me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

To view the original story in which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/10/20/woman_brings_10000_bill_to_lowell_bank/?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed4_HP

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