Peter Blair | February 28, 2016 | White Collar Crimes
Forgery is a very serious white-collar crime, which means that it is usually non-violent and may be used for financial gain. Forgery crimes may not be something that you hear in the news all the time, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t happen. One of the most famous forgery crimes involved forged Hitler diaries. In 1981, a staff journalist for Stern magazine confirmed that about $2 million would secure the buying of twenty-seven volumes of what was assured to be Hitler’s personal diary by an unidentified source. After comparing samples of Hitler’s handwriting, it was found that they matched up. However, it was later revealed that even the handwriting used as a comparison was a hoax! In 1983, the diaries were subjected to a full-scale forensic analysis. Police studied paper and ink and found that the documents were written on paper that contained a whitening agent, which came to use in 1954. Many other flaws were found that disproved that these were actually written by Hitler. Ink analysis was the real icing on the cake that proved the writing was actually less than a year old. It was found that an experienced forger had constructed the diaries and the staff journalist who brought up the diaries in the first place knew the hoax all along. He benefited greatly from the millions that were given for the diaries and both he and the forger were imprisoned.
Forgery is something that comes in many different shades. In almost all cases, it involves somebody using another person’s signature in an unauthorized way to gain information. Forgery of evidence involves tampering with physical evidence or documents and will usually involve copying someone’s signature. Evidence tampering doesn’t just stop with forged signatures, though. It can also include reproducing or altering physical objects to deceive a witness or juror. Forgery of a check is one other type of forgery crime that you may have heard about. This is where somebody gets ahold of a blank check and forges a signature to gain access to their bank account money.
What is Intent to Defraud?
The defendants must have intended to defraud someone to be guilty of a forgery crime. The fraud may not actually have been completed, but the act itself is enough. One example of intent to defraud is this: Say you that purchase a car but find out that the title to the car was forged by the seller. Will you face criminal charges for being involved in the crime? No, because you had no intent to defraud and were unaware of the actions.
Penalties for Forgery Offenses
Forgery will usually result in penalties like jail or prison time, fines, probation, and restitution to victims. Misdemeanor offenses will usually result in probation, while more serious offenses will land you in prison for a couple of years and fines ranging anywhere to a couple thousand dollars to $125,000 in some states! A huge determining factor for penalties are the documents that are at risk when the crime takes place. If the forged instrument is currency, securities, stocks, or bonds, then it will usually become a “first degree forgery.” This would be considered a felony. Forgery is a very serious crime that carries very serious penalties for the criminals who find themselves in the middle of a case. Have you been involved in a forgery crime and wonder what options you have? Do you have questions about how to continue? Then you may be in need of an experienced attorney that can show you the ropes. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair today for more information.