When it comes to financial documentation, the temptation to forge documents is too great for some people to turn down. As one of the most serious white collar crimes, a forgery conviction can result in a large fine and imprisonment among other consequences.
There are many types of forgery, such as signing another person’s name to a check, loan documentation or contract.
The most important thing to remember is that forgery isn’t typically charged unless you take action with the intent to deceive or commit fraud.
For example, if your elderly grandmother asks you to sign her name to a check and mail it to the electric company, it’s not a crime. You don’t want to get into the habit of doing this, as there can be gray area, but it’s not likely to result in criminal charges.
However, if you forge a person’s name on a check, cash it at the bank and then keep the money, you’ve committed a serious crime. Another example is signing a person’s name to a credit card application, so you can obtain credit in their name.
The best way to prevent criminal charges resulting from forgery is to never sign another person’s name to anything. Even if you think you have permission, avoid doing so.
If you are charged with forgery, collect associated documentation and evidence as soon as possible. This will help you better understand the situation, including the steps you can take to protect your legal rights. You’ll want to settle on a defense strategy early on, as this can help prevent a conviction.