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Intent a Crucial Element of Forgery and Often Central to Defense

Ziliak Law Office Oct. 1, 2020

A great deal of business in Noblesville, Indiana, relies on documents and personal identification. As a result, the forging of false credentials or other objects of value represents a criminal offense. Authorities only take the step of prosecuting forgery when investigators believe a suspect’s intent was to deceive others, particularly for financial gain. If you are facing accusations of forgery, your defense strategy may focus intent.

Examples of Forgery

Copying any document or object of value without authorization can meet the definition of forgery. False checks, contracts, diplomas, professional licenses or identification cards could mislead others if put into use. In some situations, the document may be real but someone added a photocopied signature without the signer’s consent. Fake pieces of art associated with famous artists have been known to trick art buyers.

How Forgery Intersects with Fraud and Identity Theft

A criminal defendant could also face charges of fraud on top of forgery. For example, forging a check could result in a bank cashing it and giving the forger money. Forgery frequently plays a role in identity theft schemes. A person uses the stolen personal information, like a Social Security number or driver’s license number, to apply for loans and credit cards.

Identity thieves may acquire personal information in a number of ways. Lost or stolen wallets and purses could provide almost all important details about a person’s identity. Sometimes people steal mail and go through it looking for sensitive information. Unlawful access of databases at financial institutions or government agencies can expose a great deal of sensitive information.

Burden of Proof

A prosecutor bears the burden of proof against a forgery suspect. Criminal law generally requires evidence to show that someone intended to use the forgery for profit. The concept of intent could be a troublesome point to prove. When a prosecutor’s evidence cannot satisfy the full definition of the crime, then you might avoid conviction.