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What are some common examples of forgery?

When people think "forgery," it probably conjures up images of some fellow wearing a jeweler's eyepiece in the back room of a shady business, cranking out documents for people who need new identities.

In reality, forgery is a fairly common crime -- and it is often done right out in the open, particularly when combined with credit card fraud or check fraud.

Two of the most common examples of forgery involve creating an actual credit card from a blank, which is a Class D felony in Connecticut, and signing someone else's name to a credit card, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

Both of these acts can be fairly profitable -- for a while -- but detection of fraudulent cards and security alert systems are becoming increasing complex, which means that people are getting caught more often than ever.

Many times the person committing the forgery thinks of it as a "victimless" crime, figuring the business they use the card at will write the loss off on their taxes and the person whose name is used will get any lost money back from their bank. However, the government has become increasingly serious about prosecuting these types of crimes. A Class D felony in Connecticut is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and fine of $5,000. A Class A misdemeanor can net the forger up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,000.

Signing someone else's name to a check is another type of common forgery. Commonly, the forgery is done by someone that's close to the victim and has access to their checkbook. For example, a favorite grandchild or some other trusted relative will learn their elderly relative's signature and help themselves to money from that relative's bank account.

A lot of times, the people who commit these sort of crimes are in over their heads with debt and are looking for a desperate way out -- they may even intend to replace the money before it's missed.

Conviction for forgery and its related crimes can land you in prison, cost you a fortune in fines and leave you with a criminal record that haunts your future. If you're charged with any sort of forgery or theft by forgery, a criminal defense attorney can provide more information on your legal options.

Source: FindLaw, "Forgery," accessed March 24, 2017

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