Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Federal Money Order Charges

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Federal Criminal Law » Federal Money Order Charges

A variety of unlawful actions concerning money orders and postal notes are criminalized by the Federal government in 18 U.S.C. 500, which provides as follows:


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Whoever, with intent to defraud, falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, engraves, or prints any order in imitation of or purporting to be a blank money order or a money order issued by or under the direction of the Post Office Department or Postal Service; or

Whoever forges or counterfeits the signature or initials of any person authorized to issue money orders upon or to any money order, postal note, or blank therefor provided or issued by or under the direction of the Post Office Department or Postal Service, or post office department or corporation of any foreign country, and payable in the United States, or any material signature or indorsement thereon, or any material signature to any receipt or certificate of identification thereof; or

Whoever falsely alters, in any material respect, any such money order or postal note; or


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Whoever, with intent to defraud, passes, utters or publishes or attempts to pass, utter or publish any such forged or altered money order or postal note, knowing any material initials, signature, stamp impression or indorsement thereon to be false, forged, or counterfeited, or any material alteration therein to have been falsely made; or

Whoever issues any money order or postal note without having previously received or paid the full amount of money payable therefor, with the purpose of fraudulently obtaining or receiving, or fraudulently enabling any other person, either directly or indirectly, to obtain or receive from the United States or Postal Service, or any officer, employee, or agent thereof, any sum of money whatever; or

Whoever embezzles, steals, or knowingly converts to his own use or to the use of another, or without authority converts or disposes of any blank money order form provided by or under the authority of the Post Office Department or Postal Service; or


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Whoever receives or possesses any such money order form with the intent to convert it to his own use or gain or use or gain of another knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen or converted; or

Whoever, with intent to defraud the United States, the Postal Service, or any person, transmits, presents, or causes to be transmitted or presented, any money order or postal note knowing the same—

(1) to contain any forged or counterfeited signature, initials, or any stamped impression, or

(2) to contain any material alteration therein unlawfully made, or

(3) to have been unlawfully issued without previous payment of the amount required to be paid upon such issue, or

(4) to have been stamped without lawful authority; or

Whoever steals, or with intent to defraud or without being lawfully authorized by the Post Office Department or Postal Service, receives, possesses, disposes of or attempts to dispose of any postal money order machine or any stamp, tool, or instrument specifically designed to be used in preparing or filling out the blanks on postal money order forms—

Shall be fined under this title [1] or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

The above portion of the United States Code provides for a felony conviction and up to a 5 year prison term for those convicted of any of the above-enumerated money order and postal note offenses.

A person who is accused of the Federal crimes that relate to money orders and postal notes are wise to exercise their right to remain silent, and seek an attorney at once.  It is vital that such cases be handled properly, as a conviction can result in a lengthy term in Federal prison.


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