An accusation of federal fraud is a serious matter that requires the counsel of an experienced attorney. Forgery, a type of fraud, is a white-collar crime that carries severe penalties as well as a stigma. To deter people from committing acts of forgery, the federal government doles out swift and harsh penalties. If you or someone you love is indicted on forgery charges, or investigated for federal fraud, seek immediate legal representation.
What is forgery?
Legally defined, forgery is the making, altering, use, or possession of a false document or material with the intent of committing fraud. Most people who hear the word “forgery” think of fake art paintings. However, while forging artwork is certainly a good example of this type of fraud, forgery can appear in numerous forms.
Here are some of the most common examples of forgery:
- Checks —Many people are familiar with this type of forgery as a result of the movie Catch Me If You Can which chronicled the life of real check forger Frank Abagnale. Today, many instances of check forging involve the commission of additional cyber-crimes.
- Diplomas — The recent cases of Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin have brought to light another type of forgery: diplomas and other academic certifications. Forging diplomas, SAT scores, sports achievements, and other accolades are instances of fraud.
- Artworks — Perhaps the most famous type of forgery is that of artwork. Nowadays, art forgers work primarily with computers. As a result, other federal charges for cyber crimes may also be sought by prosecutors.
- Deeds for property — This type of fraud often involves initially forging a homeowner’s signature. Next, the forger will use the fake signature to acquire documentation that lays claim to the title of the property.
Forgery is considered a crime in all 50 states and on the federal level. While state level forgery is punishable in a state prison, federal forgery is a much more serious offense punishable by incarceration in a federal prison, as well as costly fines.
Penalties for committing fraud
People often make the mistake of thinking that non-violent offenses are “no big deal.” However, the federal government aggressively prosecutes white-collar crime that defrauds citizens and especially itself. If you are accused of committing forgery, seek competent legal help.
The amount of money gained as a result of the forgery is the main aspect that determines penalties. If you are accused of forging something intended to net you thousands of dollars instead of hundreds, for example, you face harsher penalties. Generally, the punishment for forgery ranges from restitution to a lengthy prison sentence. Additionally, your assets may be seized to pay back stolen funds. A low value forgery is typically punishable by restitution, jail time, or a combination of both.
Contact an experienced defense attorney today
Since 1984, Davis & Cannon, LLP, has provided trusted legal counsel to clients across Northern Wyoming. To schedule a consultation with an experienced Sheridan criminal defense lawyer today, call (307) 672-7491 or contact us online.