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What is counterfeiting?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Felonies, White Collar Crimes |

Counterfeiting is punishable both at a state and federal level in Michigan. Most people think of counterfeiting as making fake money, but it includes fake products, dishonest marketing and willful possession of counterfeit items.

Trademark and identifying mark infringement

It’s illegal to produce products that have a trademark or an identifying mark unless the brand has given you permission. Any attempt to pass off an item as a brand that it’s not is illegal. The law requires sellers to be honest in their marketing of all products and services.

Misdemeanor or felony

Not all white-collar crimes are felonies, although many are. When it comes to counterfeiting, it depends on the details of your crime. Michigan sometimes classifies willfully counterfeiting an identifying mark as a misdemeanor if the value is low enough. The possible sentence for this misdemeanor is up to one year in prison and up to three times the aggregate value of the crime or $1,000, depending on which is greater.

In situations where the defendant has a prior related conviction, counterfeiting is usually a felony. The potential punishment is up to five years in prison and up to three times the value of the violation or $50,000, depending on which is greater.

Cases in which there were more than 100 counterfeit items or a value exceeding $1,000 are also felonies. If you are in willful possession of more than 25 counterfeit items, then the court might assume that your intent is to resell them. Thus, you could still face a felony with owning more than 25 counterfeit items.