Fraud is such a common occurrence that plagues almost everyone’s lives in one way or another, especially in America. Unfortunately, you may experience fraud at least once in your lifetime and it is important to understand the different types of fraud that can happen to you. Forgery is a type of fraud that involves faking a signature, changing existing documents, or making false documents, deeds, or contracts. Most of the time forgeries include signing someone else’s name on checks.
Forgery as a Crime
There must be legal significance and falsehood in order for forgery to be a crime. Examples of legal significance include government issued documents such as driver licenses and passports, transactional documents such as deeds and receipts, and financial instruments, which are normally checks and money.
In order for forgery to be a crime, there must be an intent to defraud or commit larceny by using a false document for financial gain. A person can be in possession of a forged document or artwork and not be charged with forgery. However, if an individual knows that said document or artwork is fake and still uses it to defraud a person or entity, then they will have committed the crime of forgery. For example, if someone knowingly cashed a forged check at a financial instruction, they committed a crime. Another example would be if someone replicated a famous painting and tried to sell it as the original. That person can be charged with forgery and the fake painting would be considered illegal forgery.
Degrees of Forgery
The charge of forgery is different in every state and usually is classified in degrees or classes such as first, second, and third, or class — A, B, or C. The differences in degrees or classes depend on each individual state and the intent of the forgery in question.
Whether you or someone you know has been accused or charged with forgery, it is not something to take lightly. Speaking with a criminal defense attorney, like a Dekalb County attorney, allows you to build whatever defense is most beneficial for you. A criminal defense attorney understands the law and will be able to review the facts of your case to possibly discover loopholes or slack on the prosecution’s side that may work for you. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible to begin building your defense.
Thanks to the law office of Andrew R. Lynch for their insight into what the definition of forgery is.