Is it illegal to forge currency of unrecognized states?

That’s probably more a function of the fact that there are more specific criminal laws tailored to forging securities and the like.

This is a no shitter:

During the 73-74 school year, someone was running for some student office at Ohio State University. His campaign team came up with the idea of putting his photo and name on a one dollar bill, well, 3 of them actually, photocopying them on green paper, cutting each page into 3 dollar bill sized papers, and passing them out. It worked fine until they started showing up in the bill changers.

Then the Secret Service got called in. Wrists were slapped and handouts were confiscated. And the Lantern (OSU’s student newspaper) had a story.

I don’t think printing up a bunch of Schrute Bucks or Ankh- Morporkian dollars or stamps would be much of an issue. UNTIL you tried passing them off as currency.

That’s true, but the OP was broader and not US specific.

Regardless of your actual intent, I think you’d find it difficult to convince a jury that you had a benevolent intent without some pretty good supporting evidence. Like maybe if you were an artist that used currency in your work, and you decided to make some fakes to reduce your materials costs.

Otherwise, “With intent to defraud” with a bunch of counterfeit bills is like “with intent to distribute” with a brick of cocaine. What else are you gonna do with it?

I think you already answered your own question, there, iamthewalrus(:3=. Obviously you could use that brick of cocaine to make art. :smiley:

Depending on the exact meaning of “reduce my materials costs” :). But yeah, maybe I’m making a movie and want a briefcase full of cash for some scene.

I guess that would hold up as “no intent to defraud”, but it still seems a bit… irresponsible to dispose of it in a way that could allow or even encourage some other misuse.

Then how are all the fake bills that have Santa or Jesus on them legal?

The bills are legal. Attempting to use them for fraudulent purposes (e.g., to fool a change machine) is not.

Hmm, let’s consider a hypothetical.

John Smith is arrested and charged with forging Transnistrian money in his basement in Sydney. The Crown opens the prosecution by alleging that John Smith did knowingly and feloniously violate the aforementioned counterfeiting statute against Her Majesty’s peace, etc. etc., namely by falsely making Transnistrian money. The defense counters by saying that the Crown is required to prove each element of the crime, including showing that Transnistria is actually a country rather than a faction in a roleplaying game or part of a school project to come up with a fictional country and simulate it’s economy and write a paper on the results, and that Transnistrian money does actually look like that, really.

Now, if the prosecutor (who represents the Queen and government) goes forward and presents evidence that despite rumors to the contrary, Transnistria is actually a country, honest injun, cross my heart and hope to die, and the court accepts the evidence and rules that the element was proven, then the fact that Transnistria is actually a country is now res judicata, and the prosecutor may have also accepted the fact based on estoppel and not be able to contradict themselves in the future. Then, a future case can point back to this one and say that based on R v. Smith, Australia does recognize Transnistria.

So the Queen’s Council, on the stern advice of his superiors who insist that Transnistria not be acknowledged in any way, quietly drops the prosecution or declines to offer sufficient evidence, and the guy goes free.

They usually have a lot more differences than just the picture, so bill accepters spit them out. Hopefully, cashiers won’t accept them either.

For a slightly less out-there example, what about currencies in online games? There’s a fair bit of counterfeiting that goes on with those, and everyone agrees that it’s wrong and that the game can ban you and so forth, but is it illegal, too? Is the Azaroth gold piece a “currency of an unrecognized foreign nation”?

Short answer: Nothing is illegal unless the state has the power to enforce. So the specific answer is, it depends on whether the unrecognized state has the authority to enforce any law that it promulgates.

I was in Transnistria last year. Moldovan Lei are useless there. You need Transnistrian currency. You’d need a sophisticated printer as the banknotes are like any other. The money won’t buy much as there is little to buy. Keep in mind that you could be searched at the border. We were stopped there for over an hour getting through Transnistrian passport control.

I think this scenario is a lot more clear-cut, assuming you’re fabricating the digital game tokens in the same jurisdiction in which they’re normally purchased and spent. This would probably fall under any one of a number of criminal statutes involving fraud, passing off, or (if you use the counterfeit tokens yourself) unauthorized access to a computer system. But even if not, fabricating the tokens is surely against the terms of service which players agree when you paid for the game; if you’re also a player the company could therefore sue you for beach of contract and recoup the value of the counterfeit tokens, plus whatever other damages the law allows. If you never had a prior contract or business relationship with the game operator, then that might complicate things for them a bit.

The “government of Azaroth” does have the power to enforce its “laws”: They have means to detect violations of those laws, and can punish such violations through the equivalent of fines or exile.

And I know that Blizzard could sue you for violating the terms of service, and it might fall under fraud or unauthorized access, but could you be charged under counterfeiting laws?

In some jurisdictions it might be a crime, though I don’t think you’d be prosecuted under the same law used for forging currency. There are usually other laws which prohibit the conterfeiting of tokens and passes used for slot machines, arcade games, public transit systems, etc. Counterfeiting digital tokens could fall under these statutes, depending on how they’re worded.