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A History Of Counterfeit Money In New York – And Its Legal Consequences


Although central banks around the world are pushing for the adoption of digital currency, paper bills and even metal coins will likely continue to play a major role in the American economy for many years to come. The existence of this physical currency has always posed a very simple risk: Counterfeiting. This offense has a long history in New York, and the consequences have proven severe throughout the decades.

America’s Early Struggles with Counterfeiting

The United States struggled with a serious counterfeiting issue after the Civil War, and by the 1860s, about 33% of all money in circulation was probably fake. This necessitated the creation of a special task force within the Treasury Department specifically geared towards fighting the counterfeiting problem. This task force was none other than the United States Secret Service – an agency that is now primarily responsible for protecting the safety of the President.

During World War Two, the Germans injected large quantities of counterfeit bills into the United States in an effort to destabilize our economy. These counterfeit notes were some of the highest quality ever produced, although few made it onto US soil. Other adversaries have been accused of similar tactics over the years – most notably North Korea and al-Qaeda. Peru has also emerged as a hotbed for industrial-scale counterfeit note production.

By the 2000s, counterfeiting methods had advanced even further. In 2009, Albert Talton was imprisoned for creating $7 million in counterfeit cash using an average, run-of-the-mill inkjet printer. The penalty for creating and passing counterfeit notes in the United States is up to 20 years in prison.

New York Has Seen Plenty of Counterfeit Notes over the Years

One of the most notable counterfeiters in New York history was Emerich Juettner, who arrived from Austria in 1890. After his wife died, Emerich began creating counterfeit $1 bills. He never created bills with higher denominations, although he probably had the capability to do so. The bills were of a very low quality, and they often included obvious mistakes. Ultimately, he was caught and sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

In 2022, a New York Home Depot worker swapped almost $400,000 in fake bills for real money before being caught.

On November 22nd of 2023, a man from Buffalo was sentenced to two years prison for creating and passing counterfeit money. He used standard ink-jet printers to create these bills – ultimately printing about $6,700 worth of counterfeit money before being caught.

Find a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney in New York

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced New York criminal defense attorney, look no further than Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have assisted numerous defendants in the Empire State. With our help, you can review various defense strategies that apply to your unique situation. Book your consultation today to get started.




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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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