Forgery is a crime that involves creating a fake document or altering or erasing a supposedly genuine document. Here, the defendant aims to defraud the victim for his personal gain. Statutes have labelled forgery as a felony and are punishable by either a fine or imprisonment or both. Those who commit forgery do so by printing, handwriting, typewriting, or engraving.
Forgery and Counterfeiting
Forgery and counterfeiting are similar in a sense that both reproduce or copy an original. Their difference lies type of object they copy or reproduce. In the forgery, a document is reproduced or altered. For counterfeiting, goods or products are manufactured or reproduced and sold under an individual brand name without the brand name owner’s authorization.
There are different elements of forgery, and each one must be proven to convict the defendant.
- The Document is False. The document must have been manufactured, typewritten, handwritten, printed, or engraved the false document.
- Material Alterations Made on the Document.This implies that a genuine document existed, but the forger has made significant alterations to it like copying the signature or filling in the blanks of a document.
- Document’s Capacity to Defraud. The document must look genuine enough that the one who will act on it will be fooled. This means that the document must not appear as forged.
- Legal Significance. The document must be legally binding or must affect his or her rights. Documents that only have a social efficacy are not covered by the crime of forgery.
- Intent.The forger must have the intention to defraud or fool other people. It does not necessarily mean that he or she intends to steal by forging the document. The crime of forgery is consummated upon the creation of the false document with the intent to fool or defraud.
- Authority. The accused may invoke as a defense that he or she was under good reason to believe he or she was given a valid authority to create the document that is claimed to be false. As for forged signatures, it may be invoked as a defense that when the forger copied a signature, he was given consent by the owner of the signature to do so.
- Lack of Intent. As a defense, a person may invoke that when he or she created the document, there was no intention to defraud or fool other persons on her part.
If you are a victim of forgery or being charged with one, contact Abraham and Rideout for expert legal representation.