COLUMBUS—State Representative Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) today announced that legislation he sponsored that specifically creates the criminal offense of counterfeiting in the Ohio Revised Code has been signed by Governor John Kasich.
House Bill 405 generally classifies counterfeiting as a fourth-degree felony, with the potential for harsher penalties based on the overall counterfeit value or the number of debit or credit cards involved.
“House Bill 405 will give Ohio’s law enforcement entities the tools necessary to support our colleagues in the U.S. Secret Service by holding counterfeiters accountable, and safeguarding Ohio’s economy and citizens who may be adversely impacted by this corrupt activity,” Perales said. “Ohio has opened a new offensive against the opioid epidemic. This legislation sets a national standard for others to emulate. I thank Governor Kasich for his support in taking action against the crisis impacting Ohioans everywhere.”
Especially in recent years, counterfeiting has become a major component of the underground economy fueling the heroin and opioid epidemic. During House committee testimony, U.S. Secret Service Agent Kevin Dye estimated that more than 85 percent of counterfeiting investigations in Dayton, Ohio are tied to illicit drug activity.
Today, in recognition of the bill signing, Rep. Perales was joined by State Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Westerville); Mayor Bob Stone (Beavercreek); Bob Cornwell, Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association; Steve Hall and Lou Tobin, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association; Resident Agent in Charge Kevin Dye; and Special Agent Yvonne DiCristoforo.
“This new law will protect Ohio citizens and empower state and local law enforcement officers to combat counterfeiters who victimize our communities,” Dye said. “We thank the Ohio Legislature and our partners for their support of House Bill 405.”
Current law in Ohio does not specifically address counterfeiting, which instead is typically charged as forgery, criminal simulation or theft. None of these existing offenses, however, were created to directly handle counterfeiting of currency or credit cards, precluding state law enforcement from holding criminals accountable.
House Bill 405 is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Association of Chiefs of Police, the Buckeye Sheriffs’ Association and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.
To view the press conference, watch here: http://www.ohiochannel.org/video/press-conference-rep-perales-discusses-h-b-no-405