The FBI and the Secret Service showed their willingness today to utilize the expanded definitions of “counterfeit currency” and “domestic terrorism” brought about by the recent conviction of Bernard von NotHaus of the alternative currency outlet “Liberty Dollar” when the agencies initiated a surprise raid on an unsuspecting Chuck E. Cheese establishment in Des Moines, Iowa.
Chuck E Cheese is charged with violations of 18 U.S.C. § 514, which covers the counterfeiting of Federal instruments, including currency, as well as 18 U.S.C. § 486, which states:
Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
The statute phrases “intended for use as current money”, as well as “of original design” are extremely vague and wide open for any number of unconstitutional interpretations. Traditionally, the concept of “resemblance” or “similitude” in terms of counterfeiting has been considered to mean an attempt to make an exact copy or near exact copy of a unit of U.S. currency with the intent to illegally replicate its appearance as well as its value.
However, the FBI found that the Liberty Dollar decision, and the “precedent” set by it, actually expanded the definition of “resemblance and similitude” to mean almost any privately made coin or barter token. That is to say, there are no longer any exact guidelines for what actually constitutes “counterfeiting”, and therefore, all alternative currencies are now fair game, including the insidiously prevalent Chuck E. Cheese game token.
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