Focus on White Collar Crimes: Forgery

While the news tends to focus on flashier crimes like breaking and entering and car chases, there are a wide range of crimes that can take place behind a desk. Most people, when they think of white collar crimes — crimes that tend to be committed by business or governmental professionals seeking financial gain — think of stock brokers gone bad. While the latest reincarnation of Bernie Madoff may pose a threat to the financial futures of people, that’s not the only type of white collar crime that can get you in trouble.

Forgery is classified in Arizona Revised Statute §13-2002. Under the law, someone may be considered to have committed forgery if they, with the intent to defraud, falsely make, complete, of alter a written instrument; knowingly possess a forged instrument; present or offer a forged instrument or one that contains false information[1].

Written instruments include any written document, image, trademark, seal, stamp, badge, or symbol of value or identification, like someone’s signature[2]. The inclusion of “intent to defraud” is an important portion of ARS §13-2002. It is intended to protect people who fabricate written instruments for educational or entertainment purposes, such as the recreation of a famous work of art. If the individual who creates a forgery then goes on to attempt to sell that painting as an original work however, they could be found guilty of committing forgery.

For first-time offenders, forgery offenses are considered a Class 4 felony and can lead to prison terms of up to four and a half years, and can also come with significant fines depending on the forged materials.

In forgery and other related cases, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person being charged acted both knowingly and with the intent to defraud. If an individual possesses five or more forged instruments, intent to defraud may be presumed by the court. Depending on your case, intent may be difficult to prove, and involving an attorney early on in the process can increase your chances in court.

If you have been accused of or are anticipating being accused of committing forgery, it is important to contact an experienced and knowledgeable forgery attorney. At MayesTelles PLLC, our Phoenix defense lawyers understand the best ways to handle these types of cases, and in many situations if contacted early enough in the process, we can assist you in avoiding charges or convictions. The sooner you reach out to us, the more we can do to assist you in your case. Contact us today through our website, or call us at (602) 428-7104 to speak with one of our attorneys.