The Crime of Forgery in Pennsylvania
Forgery is a serious crime with substantial penalties. Defending the crime of fraud should be taken seriously. If you have been accused of forgery, hire a skilled Philadelphia forgery attorney to defend you. You will be facing a determined District Attorney who wants to prove your guilt. Let us find proof to defend your innocence. The attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin have substantial experience defending white collar crimes.
Let our knowledgeable lawyers handle the complex fields associated with forgery. Call us today at (215) 486-0123.
Elements of the Offense of Forgery
Under Pennsylvania law, forgery is when a person has the intent to defraud or harm another person and performs any of the following:
- Alters the writing of another without that person’s consent
- Executes or transfers any writing while claiming it to be the act of another who did not provide permission to perform the act
- Knowingly offers a forged document as authentic, for payment or trade
Examples of forgery include:
- Altering a financial document
- Falsifying another person’s signature on a check
- Changing the amount on a check without authorization
- Cashing a forged check at a financial institution
- Utilizing a forged document to acquire or transfer money or property
- Making a false real estate document like a deed
The offender does not need to deceive or defraud another in order to be guilty of forgery. The crime requires only the intent to commit the act.
Degrees of Forgery
- The crime of forgery is classified as both a misdemeanor and felony, depending on the instrument or kind of document included.
- Felony of the second degree involves any forged items such as postage, money, or security and is punishable by no more than ten years in prison and/or a $25,000 maximum fine.
- When the writing being forged is a will, contract, commercial instrument, or deed it is a felony of the third degree and is subject to a maximum prison term of seven years in prison and/or a fine up to $15,000. A check is an example of a commercial instrument.
- A misdemeanor of the first degree applies to all other types of forgery and faces a punishment of up to five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Defenses to Forgery
- The accused did not intend to mislead or injure another.
- The accused did not possess any knowledge that a document was forged.