ABC’s Castle episode, “A Deadly Affair”, which aired on September 20, 2010, revolves around murder victims that share a connection. Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and famous mystery writer Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) embark on a quest to decipher the missing link among the victims. It turns out that the victims were all engaged in a money counterfeiting operation. Since the show takes place in New York City, New York City and state law may apply to some extent. 

In New York, possession of counterfeit money usually results in a criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree charge,  pursuant to New York Penal Law Section 170.30 (NY PL 170.30). The offense is considered a misdemeanor under New York law; one can serve up to 15 years in prison. To successfully charge an individual with this offense, a prosecutor must prove that the individual had knowledge that he carried counterfeit currency. Furthermore, counterfeiting “coins or obligations or other securities of the United States or of any foreign government”  is a federal crime, under 18 U.S.C. § 492.

The crime is taken quite seriously: the Secret Service investigates the crime. If charged and convicted, one can be imprisoned for up to fifteen years or be subject to heavy fines. The repercussions for the crimes depend largely on the degree and scale of the counterfeiting operation.  

Counterfeiting currency is not a new crime; it has plagued the country for quite a while. The American Numismatic Society in New York City is featuring an exhibition titled: “Funny Money- The Fight of the United States Secret Service against Counterfeit Money.” The exhibition illustrates the historical relationship between the Secret Service and currency counterfeiters.

The exhibition runs until December 2010. Click here to learn more.

Want to know how to detect counterfeit currency? Click here.

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