Illegal Things People Do With Money

Illegal Money activity

Whenever the phrase financial crime crops up, our mind plays images of bank robberies, money laundering or maybe even Ponzi schemes like the ones we see on television. Very few of us would consider ourselves as financial criminals, but according to financial research firm Bankrate this may be far from the actual case.

“It’s surprisingly easy to adopt a dicey financial habit under the guise of ‘everyone does it,’ ‘I was just trying to help,’ or ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time,’ only to discover later that what you’ve done is, in fact, illegal,” as Bankrate explains “The odds of getting caught might seem slim, but the consequences can be harsh.”

Some of the ways may seem pretty harmless, obvious even. However, the fact that they make their way on to the list suggests that they may occur more frequently than one would previously suspect. Here are the 6 things that people do with money that are actually illegal

Check Fraud: illegal Activity

Image Courtesy: safeidlock

1. Signing Someone Else’s Name on a Check

Many people have done, often with permission, and in full view-but it’s still a crime. There are several reasons may account for you signing on behalf of a family member or spouse but that does not change the fact that this constitutes forgery.

According to Carol Kaplan, former spokesperson for the American Bankers Association in Washington DC and now Director of Public Affairs at National Insurance Crime Bureau, “In most cases, it’s on behalf of a loved one who probably isn’t going to object, but people should know that that’s forgery.”

Forgery will land you in trouble no matter where you find yourself.

2. Writing Bad Checks
The race to cuddle, in order to retain, customers may have led several banks to offer overdraft services when required such as when a customer makes a debit card purchase or writes a check that puts their account in the red.

That said, intentionally writing a check that you do not have the funds to cover is illegal.

Apart from the danger of being prosecuted, “Not only are there criminal penalties involved, but you get put on a list of bad check writers,” Carol Kaplan told Bankrate. “A lot of places won’t accept your checks, and you may have difficulty opening a bank account again because you’ve been labelled as a fraudster.”

3. Copying U.S. Money
This occurs more frequently than one would initially suspect, after all you cannot print money out to buy goods or services.

However, with the proliferation of high end printing machines, copy machines and scanners, it is now possible to produce these precious notes for several other reasons like games, jokes and so on.

These reasons seem innocent enough, but the act is still considered illegal and carries serious penalties of $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison.

If you must do this, there are a few guidelines that one can follow according to Claudia Dickens, a spokesperson for the U.S Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, “If you make a copy of currency, it has to be at least 150 percent larger than what you and I carry in our wallets or 75 percent of its normal size. If you make it in color, you can only do one side,” she said.

4. Defacing U.S. Currency
We’ve all seen it before, drawing the devil horns on the one-dollar bill or Abraham Lincoln made to look like Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings. It’s fun-but illegal.

According to Federal law, “whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined … or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

5. Using Someone Else’s Name to Obtain Credit
There is little excuse for anybody who does this. This is a really malicious form of identity theft.

However, it is quite common to see this among this happen though, according to Carol Kaplan, she has seen parents plagued by horrible credit open an account under their children’s names, “It’s illegal to pose as someone else,” she said.

6. Lying on a Home Loan Application
The sheer burden of paying mortgages may push some people to bend the truth on their refinancing applications. The rising prices of homes may even make this look like a worthwhile risk, especially if you are a new buyer.

However, “You should be honest,” Carol Kaplan told Bankrate. “We all go through difficult financial periods, and it’s tempting to want to fudge. But if you get caught, it’s going to lead to huge headaches, and you will sleep better at night knowing that you aren’t living with a lie.”

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