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  #1  
Old 21 March 2013, 08:02 PM
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Icon605 Defacing money

Comment: Many people think that defacing or destroying money is a federal
crime. Wouldn't this make all the machines that crush pennies and turn them
into souvenirs illegal?
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  #2  
Old 21 March 2013, 08:53 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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The answer to this is usually posted on each of the penny crushing machines. I don't have one handy so I can't read what it says but I know I have read an explanation more than once while helping my wife get her souvenir.
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  #3  
Old 21 March 2013, 09:06 PM
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Essentially, you cannot deface money with the intent to defraud. That would be things like trying to make $10 bills look like $100 bills, or altering the size and weight of coins to fool machines.

Quote:
Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs,
diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined
at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are
by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money
within the United States; or
Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or
sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into
the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered,
defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or
lightened -
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five
years, or both.
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  #4  
Old 21 March 2013, 09:19 PM
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Icon605

Quote:
Originally Posted by chillas View Post
Essentially, you cannot deface money with the intent to defraud. That would be things like trying to make $10 bills look like $100 bills, or altering the size and weight of coins to fool machines.
The section of code you cite only applies to coins, though, not currency. The section covering defacing of currency (18 USC 333) doesn't require an intent to defraud:

Quote:
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 under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
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  #5  
Old 21 March 2013, 09:56 PM
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Even that bit isn't absolute though. It has to be done with the intent to render it unusable.
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  #6  
Old 21 March 2013, 10:07 PM
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Read This!

"Unfit to be reissued" doesn't mean unusable.
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  #7  
Old 21 March 2013, 11:09 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
 
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In the UK the laws are somewhat different; including the fact that paper money is actually promissary notes issued by the Bank of England (as well as several Scottish/ Northern Irish Banks). This means that you can do what you want with notes; and as long as there is sufficient left (half with serial number, or two-thirds without) they will honor it, and there is even a service available to recostruct and redeem damaged notes.
One potential problem with this system ia that note design changes every few years, and older designs can only be exchanged at the issuing Bank.
As I understand it, it was illegal for a period (most of the 20th century) to deface coins (which are government issued), and souvenir making machines where a design was pressed into a coin, were made illegal. They are now legal, and are quite widespread at visitor attractions (they were also common in the late 19th century, but may actually have been illegal at the time)
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  #8  
Old 22 March 2013, 10:00 AM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arriah View Post
Even that bit isn't absolute though. It has to be done with the intent to render it unusable.

This issue has been the subject of discussions on the WHERE'S GEORGE money tracking site.

The entire purpose of marking a bill with WG is to be able to track the bill as it circulates.
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  #9  
Old 23 March 2013, 01:37 AM
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So no more turning Wilfred Laurier into Spock then?
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  #10  
Old 23 March 2013, 01:34 PM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
"Unfit to be reissued" doesn't mean unusable.
Unusable might be quite variable.

I've got a Series 2006 US $100 bill with two chop marks on the front and 13 chop marks on the rear, the majority being placed on the bill by money changers and banks.

Now, there are so many marks on the bill that other money changers won't take the bill.
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  #11  
Old 23 March 2013, 02:29 PM
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In any case, that has nothing to do with what reissued means. Whether or not a note is reissued isn't something a bank or person handling the note decides. The US Treasury determines that.
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  #12  
Old 23 March 2013, 02:54 PM
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In case anyone confuses another issue (which Mycroft brings up), whether a note is reissued also has little to do with whether the Treasury will honor that note. The Treasury will honor many notes that are completely mutilated. They certainly won't reissue them. So these are three different issues: currency that's usable, currency the Treasury will honor, and bills that the Treasury will reissue.
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