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Forgery: Imitating reality can result in criminal charges

With so many digital documents available today, you may not consider forgery to be a crime that happens in modern-day America. The fact is that forgery does still exist and occurs often.

Forgery isn't just signing someone else's name on a document. Forgery also includes creating false documents or creating an imitation of a valued object and presenting it as if it's the real thing. For example, if you have a duplicate of a famous painting, that duplicate should never be presented as if it's the real artwork. If it is, then you are committing a crime of forgery, which is punishable by law.

In the same situation, if you don't know that the piece you have is an imitation of the real artwork, then you likely can't be convicted of a crime of forgery. Why? You must be deceptive to commit forgery. If you did not intend to deceive anyone, how could you commit forgery?

Forgery and identity theft are similar in nature but are separate by law. What's the difference? Identity theft is usually identified as false impersonation, whereas forgery is theft by deception. In both types of crimes, the person is acting in a deceptive or fraudulent manner. Most people do this for financial gain.

If you're accused of trying to sell a forged piece of artwork, faking documents or participating in fraudulent acts, you may wish to speak with your attorney about ways to defend yourself. With some help, you can tell your side of the story and focus on having the charges against you dropped.

Source: FindLaw, "Forgery," accessed May 04, 2017

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