Lawmakers consider higher penalties for counterfeit money

Under current Mississippi law, if the amount of counterfeit money involved is more than $500, it is a felony charge punishable by two to 10 years in a state prison, up to a $10,000 fine or both. However, if it less than $500, those found guilty can only receive a maximum punishment of six months in a county jail, up to a $1,000 fine or both.

“So they’re considered misdemeanors under a certain amount, and we would like to see that increased to where any of it, basically, is a felony because there’s a lot of that that has been transpiring here in the local area,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall. “It hurts businesses. Obviously, they’re expecting when they get payment for goods or services for it to be good, and unfortunately, it seems to be a proliferation of the counterfeiting in the smaller denominations. So we just feel, public policy-wise, it would be a good idea to go ahead and make the penalty at least a felony (with) over a year, up to five years imprisonment or up to $10,000 (in fines) or both hopefully to deter some of that kind of counterfeiting activity that’ll be going on, especially in the holiday season.”