Forgery means you intentionally tried to defraud someone else using writing or printing. For example, if you create fake payroll checks on your computer and then deposit them in your checking account, you can be guilty of forgery. If you are questioned by the police or charged, it is essential that you hire an attorney to provide you with a strong defense.
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to use forgery to facilitate a fraud or injury with intent or knowledge. The kinds of forgery illegal in the Commonwealth include:
- Altering the writing of another without their authority. For example, adding another zero to the birthday check your mother wrote you and then depositing it in your bank account.
- Making, completing, executing, authenticating, issuing, or transferring the writing so it purports to be the act of someone else who didn’t authorize it, or completing a writing that has already been started when the original does not exist. In other words, claiming a written item is real when it’s a forgery. For example, creating fake credit cards and then using them to buy electronics.
- Using writing you didn’t create and you know is fake, as if it were genuine. For example, you watched your friend create a fake car title and registration with their new design software, and although you know it is phony you use it to sell a car.
Illegal To Forge
Pennsylvania law broadly defines the items that are illegal to forge. Included are money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, trademarks and electronic signatures.
Forging money or something that purports to be money, or forging a government-issued document is a felony of the second degree. You can be sentenced to as many as 10 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
Forging legal documents is a felony of the third degree. All other forgeries are a misdemeanor of the first degree, punished with up to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,00.
If you are charged, you will have forgery on your criminal record and that will make it hard to get a good job. It will be especially difficult for you to have a career in government or banking.
Steps To Take If You Have Been Charged
If you have been charged with forgery, you should hire an experienced theft crimes lawyer to defend you. These allegations can mean losing your job or having a hard time finding a new one, since a conviction can mean substantial fines, jail time, and a stain on your criminal record. You will also want to speak with your attorney prior to speaking with law enforcement, federal or police investigators, and the prosecutors.