Counterfeit Currency – You May Pay a Very High Price

February 28, 2019

In  strained financial circumstances, it can be tempting to consider purchasing counterfeit money. While the price of such ‘currency’ fluctuates widely, it is often as low as 25% of the face value, making it a tempting proposition.

State currency producers spend millions each year on devising and improving security safeguards, and the fact that counterfeit currency can still be passed off as real reveals something of this hidden world of criminality.

To be able to produce a high-quality counterfeit currency requires an investment in expensive print technology and in the main the people responsible for such enterprises are sophisticated and organised criminal gangs, using fake money sales to finance illegal drugs, weapons and trafficking activities. It is this link to organised crime that requires courts to pass deterrent sentences on those caught.  The circulation of counterfeit currency is also a threat to the broader economy.

The Potential Consequences

Non-custodial sentences are almost unheard of with this kind of crime, even for the use of a single note or coin.

In the case of Corcoran  a single £50 note was passed, and a sentence of 6 months imprisonment was imposed by the Court of Appeal (following a guilty plea).

In Miller, 2 years imprisonment was reduced to 15 months imprisonment.  Miller passed 3 counterfeit £20 notes, where 3 more were found in his possession.

The Court of Appeal has stated:

“We observe, as other constitutions of this court have done on previous occasions, that in view of the potential harm to the United Kingdom economy an immediate custodial sentence would almost invariably be required in cases such as this. However, its term will depend upon the factual circumstances … One of the most important factors will be the number of counterfeit notes involved.”

The maximum sentence for tendering counterfeit currency is ten years imprisonment.

For those involved in the production of notes or coins, severe sentences typically follow, and a court may also consider making a preventative order (e.g. Karra and Karra [2015].

In Crick the court observed:

“Coining is a serious offence … It must, however, be recognised that not all such offences are of the same gravity. At one extreme is the professional forger, with carefully prepared plates, and elaborate machinery, who manufactures large quantities of bank notes and puts them into circulation. A long sentence of imprisonment is appropriate in such a case. Here the offence is at the other end of the scale. The tools used to make the blanks were primitive, and were not acquired specially for the purpose; the techniques used were amateurish, and there was little real attempt to make the blanks a facsimile of a 50 pence piece. The coins were not, and could not have been, put into general circulation.”

How Tuckers Solicitors can help you…

To discuss anything to do with counterfeit currency please contact us on 020 7388 8333 or email and we will gladly assist.  

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to deliver immediate and expert legal advice and representation.