Counterfeiting notes and coins

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Counterfeiting notes and coins
  • Making a counterfeit note or coin
  • 'Currency note' and 'protected coin'
  • 'Counterfeit'
  • Passing counterfeit notes or coins
  • Having custody or control of a counterfeit note or coin
  • Making, custody or control of counterfeiting materials and implements
  • Reproducing British currency notes
  • Offences of making etc imitation of British coins
  • Prohibition of importation and exportation of counterfeit notes or coins
  • More...

Counterfeiting notes and coins

Making a counterfeit note or coin

Section 14 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 (FCA 1981), makes an offence for a person to make a counterfeit of a currency note or of a protected coin:

  1. intending that he or another shall pass or tender it as genuine, or

  2. without lawful authority or excuse

The offence is an either way offence. A person convicted on indictment would be liable to a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years and, on summary conviction, to a maximum term of six months, a fine or both. A serious crime prevention order can be imposed on an individual or an organisation in relation to a breach of the FCA 1981, s 14. See Practice Note: Serious crime prevention orders.

FCA 1981, s 14 draws a distinction between cases in which there is proof of an intent that the fake item shall be passed as genuine (FCA 1981, s 14(1)) and cases in which there is not (FCA 1981, s 14(2)). For a section 14(1) offence, while there is a requirement to prove an ulterior intent, the actual passing of the counterfeit does not need to happen. Also, there is no need to show that the defendant intended to induce someone to do something to his/her own prejudice, or disadvantage.

An offence under s 14(2) is still an offence, although

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