In the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District


In the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District

What is forgery?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2023 | White Collar Crimes |

Thousands of people each year are charged with various white-collar crimes in New York, with forgery being one of them. The popular conception of forgery might be falsified artwork or antiquities, but the crime is usually far more mundane.

Forgery is creating a false document, making illicit alterations to an existing document, or making an unauthorized signature. There are several nuances to understand, as white-collar crimes can often be more confusing than other types of illegal behavior.

What constitutes forgery?

One of the most fundamental elements in forgery is intent. For an act to rise to the level of forgery, it’s necessary to demonstrate that the person in question was acting deceptively.

For example, in certain circumstances, it might be legal for a third party to sign a check on behalf of the account holder, such as an elderly person unable to sign for themselves. But making that same signature without the knowledge of the account holder is an illegal act.

Forgery tends to produce very clear-cut evidence, as almost any forgery involves some document or legally relevant physical object, including:

  • Checks
  • Wills
  • Legal documents (like contracts)
  • Bills
  • Shipping invoices
  • Historical artifacts
  • Artwork
  • Diplomas
  • Prescriptions

Forgery can occur entirely within the digital world. This is especially true when it comes to identity theft, which oftentimes either starts online or involves digital manipulation.

Those types of crimes traditionally fell under the umbrella of forgery, though some states and jurisdictions have created specific laws dealing with identity theft and cybercrime.

Forgery is a crime in which a person creates or modifies some document or object to deceive for financial gain. Often, forgery involves assuming or representing an identity other than your own in some capacity.


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