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Understanding the white collar crime of forgery

Forgery is a crime that generally involves creating a false document or writing a fake signature with the intent of passing the document, or signature on a document, off as if it were real. Forgery can also involve making an imitation of an item of value, such as historical papers, corporate documents, or even paintings with plans to pass the items off as if they were the originals.

Interestingly, a person is not typically charged with the crime of forgery unless there is an actual intent by the person committing the act to attempt to deceive another person or persons. This is why some artwork can be replicated and copied, or even created and sold. To do so legally, one must acknowledge that the artwork is a copy and make no attempt to represent the artwork as an original piece. As an example, a painter could replicate a copy of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" to sell as long as one did not claim that it was Van Gogh's original work.

One of the most common types of forgery is check fraud. This is when someone signs a check without the authorization of the account holder and then cashes the check or uses the check to purchase something without the account holder's consent.

When a person does knowingly commit the crime of forgery and is caught, he or she is typically charged with the crime of fraud. One may also be charged with theft or larceny.

Defendants who are facing forgery charges may find it beneficial to seek the guidance and assistance of an Wisconsin criminal attorney who has experience in defending those accused of white collar crimes.

Source: FindLaw, "Forgery" Nov. 03, 2014

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