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Differences between fraud and forgery

Writing a bad check is a serious offense in the state of Wisconsin. Anyone guilty of writing a bad check of less than $2,500 could face Class A misdemeanor charges while bad checks in excess of $2,500 could face Class I felony charges.

The person responsible for writing the check could face forgery or fraud charges depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. While the general populace often uses these terms interchangeably, they do have different legal definitions. Anyone facing criminal charges needs to understand the differences to best mount a legal defense.


A person commits fraud when he or she intentionally misrepresents the truth. This can consist of a wide array of crimes, including overvaluation of assets to secure a loan, alteration of corporate accounts, blackmail, theft and writing bad checks. All of these types of fraud are illegal. In today’s digital age, many people have chosen to commit fraud online. People can create phony emails and websites to secure other people’s credit card information. Conviction of a Class I felony fraud count could result in up to $10,000 in fines as well as a prison sentence up to 3.5 years.


Forgery is merely a type of fraud one can commit. This occurs when someone alters a document or object to make it appear as though someone else signed or approved of it. People can forge a litany of objects, including checks, transportation tickets and membership cards. An example of forgery would be someone receiving a check from a superior and altering the amount in an attempt to receive more money. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, the person could face fines up to $10,000 along with up to nine months in jail.

Although there are plenty of people out there who commit fraud and forgery intentionally, it is entirely possible to commit one of these acts by accident. You need to build a legal defense immediately if arrested for one of these crimes.

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