Forgery & Fraud Defense Attorney
What constitutes forgery in Arizona?
The crimes of forgery and related offenses are governed by Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §§13-2001 to 13-2011. The crime of forgery, governed by A.R.S. §13-2002, is a class 4 felony, unless a drop house is used, in which case it is a class 3 felony. An individual is guilty of forgery if, with the intent to defraud, he or she:
- Falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument
- Knowingly possesses a forged instrument
- Offers or presents, whether accepted or not, a forged instrument or one that contains false information
Defense Strategies Against Charges of Forgery or Fraud
The key to forgery and related cases is that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual acted knowingly and with the intent to defraud. In forgery cases, intent to defraud may be presumed when an individual possesses five or more forged instruments. Because intent can be difficult to prove, it is important to have an attorney involved early in the process if you have been charged with forgery, or even if you anticipate the risk of being charged. This is in order to protect your rights and minimize any missteps that could help the State to prove its case.
In many situations, if you retain a knowledgeable and experienced attorney early on, you can avoid being charged or convicted. You may also have an opportunity to plead your case down to a less serious offense, such as criminal possession of a forgery device. This is a class 6 felony, which would potentially save you years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Qualifying individuals may be able to resolve their case by having their charges reduced to a class 6 undesignated or "open" felony. This may allow them to get their charge reduced to a misdemeanor if they successfully complete the terms of their sentence.
Offenses related to forgery include:
- Criminal possession of a forgery device (A.R.S. §13-2003)
- Criminal simulation (A.R.S. §13-2004)
- Obtaining a signature by deception (A.R.S. §13-2005)
- Criminal impersonation (A.R.S. §13-2006)
- Unlawful use of slugs (A.R.S. §13-2007)
- Taking the identity of another person or identity or identity theft (A.R.S. §13-2008)
- Aggravated taking of the identity of another person or entity, identity theft resulting in an economic loss of $3,000 or more, or identity theft for the intent to obtain employment (A.R.S. §13-2009)
- Trafficking in the identity of another person or entity (A.R.S. §13-2010)
- Fraudulent creation or possession of admission tickets to a sporting event, concert, etc. (§ 13-2011)
Facing charges for an alleged forgery offense? Contact us at (602) 428-7104.
The following statutes are used to classify and determine penalties for fraud crimes in Arizona:
- Trafficking in stolen property (A.R.S. 13-2307)
- Participating in a criminal syndicate (A.R.S. 13-2308)
- Fraudulent schemes and artifices (A.R.S 13-2310)
- Credit card fraud
- Theft of a credit card (A.R.S. 13-2102)
- Fraudulent use of a credit card (A.R.S 13-2105)
Unemployment Insurance Fraud
The Arizona Revised Statutes §23-785 provides that:
Any person who knowingly falsifies a statement or any information in order to obtain or increase a benefit or other payment, either for himself or for another person, is guilty of a class 6 felony. Also, each statement or incident of failed disclosure is a separate offense. Individuals are often charged with unemployment insurance fraud in situations where their economic status changes after obtaining unemployment benefits, such as when they obtain a new job, and they (sometimes innocently) fail to advise the Department of Economic Security (DES) of that fact.
The Department of Economic Security's Role
The DES prosecutes these actions as class 6 felonies under Arizona law and seeks full restitution from those who are charged. In fact, the DES has specific sections of its website dedicated to unemployment insurance fraud and provides an online form for reporting unemployment insurance fraud. They are also dedicated to reporting recent convictions of the offense. In short, the DES takes these cases seriously, and you should seek the advice of a competent attorney to assist you.
Although a class 6 felony is a serious charge, and prison or jail time are potential consequences, it may be possible to obtain a dismissal of the charges or a plea to a reduced charge in many cases. If you have not yet been charged, but suspect that you may be, an attorney may be able to help you avoid charges by being proactive.
Consult With Us By Calling (602) 428-7104
Anyone who has applied for a job or advanced schooling in recent years knows the problems that can be posed by having a felony on your record. An experienced attorney at the office of MayesTelles PLLC could save you from these pitfalls in your forgery or fraud case, which have the potential to cost you many thousands of dollars in future missed opportunities and lost earnings.
If you have been charged or suspect that you may be charged with forgery or a related offense in Arizona, you should contact an attorney to discuss your case immediately.
The knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at the MayesTelles PLLC are available to discuss the specific details of your case any time day or night.