White Collar Crimes: What Is Forgery?

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What Is Forgery?

Forgery is a type of white-collar (non-violent) crime. The most basic form of forgery is the unauthorized use or reproduction of another person’s signature. In other words, forgery usually involves faking a person’s signature for the purpose of gaining access to secured information such as a bank account or personal records. A common example is forging a person’s signature on a blank check.

Forgery can also involve the creation of fake or fraudulent documents. Or, it can involve photocopying a person’s signature and then artificially placing it on a document without their knowledge or consent. In a forgery lawsuit the final product that was used to perpetrate a crime is often known as a “forged document.

What Is Forgery of Evidence?

Forgery of evidence is a very serious crime. It involves tampering with physical evidence or documents that are to be used as evidence during trial. Again, this can involve copying or reproducing a persons’ signature, such as that of a key witness. 

Tampering with evidence can also involve reproducing, altering, or repairing physical objects for the purpose of deceiving a witness, juror, opposing counsel, judge, or other key person in a trial. For example, in a homicide case, this can mean removing stains from a weapon. Or, in a hit-and-run automobile claim, it can involve gaining access to a broken bumper and repairing it before trial. 

Forgery of evidence in trial is often called “fabrication of evidence” or “counterfeiting of evidence”, especially in instances where a fake or artificial copy/version of an item is presented to the court.

What Is Forgery of a Check?

Forgery of a check is one of the most common forms of forgery. The typical case is where the defendant gets a hold of a person’s blank check than forges their signature, thus gaining access to their bank account monies. Forged checks are commonly perpetrated in connection with other types of crimes, such as scams or elderly financial abuse cases.

Another method of forging a check is where the defendant steals or intercepts a check that is intended for someone else. The defendant may then alter the check to make it appear like it was made out to them. Thus, the owner of the check may have placed their actual signature on the check, but the name gets changed in the area where it states “Payable To.” This type of forgery is also called forged endorsement or fraudulent endorsement.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Forgery Issues?

If you have any questions or disputes involving forgery, a criminal defense attorney can be of assistance to you. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you understand the specific white collar crimes in your area. Your lawyer may also identify possible defenses, such as an actual authorization of the document, or a lack of intent to deceive the other party.

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Last Modified: 06-03-2014 02:20 PM PDT

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