When most people hear the word “forgery”, they might think of fake paintings or artifacts. While that is a part of it, there is much more. Forgery involves anything that is faked, such as a document, a signature, or anything of value, with the purpose of deceiving someone. People caught forging something are most often charged with fraud. Forged documents most commonly include identification, legal documents, and contracts. Signatures are the most commonly forged of all the others. Currency can also be forged, but that crime is usually called counterfeiting.
Someone is generally charged with forgery only if there is an intent to deceive someone, or defraud them. You can copy works of art without committing a crime, but if you try to pass it off as the original and profit from it, then it becomes illegal. If you photocopy someone’s signature and use it on a document, that is also forgery.
Forgery has long been a problem in the art world. Paintings have been sold for millions of dollars that were in fact forgeries of Picasso and Da Vinci pieces. Even the “Hitler Diaries” discovered in 1983 were found to be forgeries and sold for money.
Identity theft is when someone uses another person’s personal information for their own economic gain. It will often involve forgeries of signatures or even of identity documents. Some states consider identity theft to be the same as false impersonation of theft by deception under the law. Many, however, have passed modern laws that are specific to identity theft and other cyber crimes. These states have made it a crime to use another’s information for personal gain, whether it is physically stolen or accessed online. All too often, it is something as simple as a misplaced credit card bill or a wallet that leads to fraud and theft under a someone’s name.
If you are charged with forgery or identity theft, then you will most certainly need an attorney. Forgery charges require intent on the part of the accused, and it is up to the prosecutor to prove that intent. Make sure to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and defend you in court if necessary.
If you’re in need of a Criminal Defense attorney who will get the results you need, contact the Law Offices of Mark Herman. Reach out online or call 612-382-4545 for a free consultation.