One of the more frequently charged white collar crimes in the Glendale area is forgery under California Penal Code Section 470 PC. Forgery crimes may often appear to be relatively minor, however the fact that the financial damages caused by this offense can be substantial means that Glendale law enforcement officers and prosecutors often aggressively pursue cases of this nature.
Forgery can encompass a variety of different criminal offenses that involve creating or attempting to pass off falsified documents or signatures as authentic in order to further a fraudulent act. The following list includes examples of forgery offenses that often occur in Glendale:
- Signing the name of another person without their authorization.
- Signing another person’s name or forging their seal on an official document.
- Altering official documents such as deeds, wills, grants or court orders without authorization.
- Making unauthorized changes to checks, money orders, lottery tickets, bank notes or various other official documents.
In order to prove a forgery charge, the prosecutor must show that the defendant committed one of the actions named above and did so with the intent to commit fraud against another person or company.
To be convicted of forgery, the defendant must have intended to obtain a benefit when he or she unlawfully counterfeited, altered or forged a signature or official document. This benefit is often financial in nature. Forgery crimes can include attempts to copy someone’s signature on a check or making unauthorized changes to a person’s will. It is often the case that many forgery offenses occur in connection with elder abuse in Glendale where the defendant is accused of changing an elderly person’s will or using his or her checkbook without authorization.
The crime of forgery is not a completed offense unless and until the counterfeited document has been “uttered” or presented to another person or organization as being authentic. If the defendant signed someone else’s name on an official document but did not try to cash it or otherwise pass it off as authentic, he or she could only be charged with attempted forgery.
In the past, most of the forgery cases charged in Glendale involved allegations of check forgery. However, advances in technology have led to an increase in forgery crimes committed with credit cards and other financial instruments. A person can be charged with forgery in Glendale when he or she uses another person’s credit card to make a purchase and then writes that person’s signature on the receipt. When this occurs, the defendant can be charged with a number of criminal offenses including forgery and credit card fraud.
When trying a forgery case, the Deputy District Attorney may be required to employ a handwriting expert to testify and explain how a signature or other written notation may have forged by the defendant. The defense may have to call their own expert to rebut the prosecution’s expert and show how the defendant did not commit forgery.
Previously, forgery was always considered a “wobbler” offense that could be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the underlying financial loss and the defendant’s criminal history. Since the adoption of Proposition 47, which has reduced many crimes to misdemeanors, if the forgery offense involved a loss of $950 or less the defendant can only be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted of a misdemeanor forgery offense, the defendant could be sentenced to up to a year in jail as well as whatever terms of probation the judge imposes. As a condition of probation, the defendant would have to pay restitution to any victim for losses incurred.
Where the forgery offense results in a loss in excess of $950, the offense can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If the defendant is charged with a felony, he or she could potentially be sent to prison for up to three years.
If you are currently being investigated for or have already been charged with a Glendale forgery crime, it is very important that you speak with a Glendale Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately. Glendale Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to effectively fight charges of forgery and other white collar offenses.
For more information about Glendale forgery offenses, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Glendale Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 450 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 600, Glendale, CA 91203. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 818-507-9123.