Here’s an important tip that any would-be counterfeiter might want to consider before they actually commit the crime: If you’re already planning your defense before you get caught, it may be time to stop.

A 77-year-old career counterfeiter, known among various legal and illegal circles alike as Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio, was sentenced (yet again) for another counterfeiting scheme. A six-month investigation ended in a search of his residence, where federal agents discovered thousands of counterfeit $100 bills, a computer, a mechanical printing press and other counterfeiting tools.

Apparently, “The Coin” had told friends that he was planning on claiming that he was working as a counterfeit deterrence specialist if he was caught. The court didn’t buy it. He’s now serving 15 months in a federal prison.

This is hardly The Coin’s first foray into counterfeiting. He was first convicted in 1997 for making counterfeit casino tokens. He has a history of other schemes — some more successful than others — and published an autobiography in 2015 discussing his life of crime.

His case is an important reminder that counterfeiting actually comes in many forms. While most people associate the crime with fake money, the reality is that it is a much broader crime. Almost anything of value can — and has been — counterfeited at some point. For example, the market for fake designer goods, like purses and watches, is huge online.

All counterfeit goods and items are illegal because they cause economic damages to businesses and consumers alike.

If you’re accused of counterfeiting, don’t rely on half-baked stories as your defense. Talk to an experienced defense attorney before you do anything else.

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