A person in Virginia who is facing forgery-related charges might be accused of doing something as relatively minor as signing a name to someone else’s check or as significant as stealing millions of dollars. Forgery-related charges may encompass identity theft, creating a fake work of art in the name of a famous painter or applying for a credit card in another person’s name.
At its core, forgery occurs when a person falsifies a signature or document or imitates an item of value and plans to deceive another person. In general, the intent to commit some sort of fraud must be present. When fake art objects or historical documents are created, this is usually referred to as forgery. Doing the same thing with products or money is usually considered counterfeiting.
There have been some famous forgeries and forgers. The film “Catch Me If You Can” is about the forger of millions of dollars in checks, Frank Abagnale. A famous art forger was Wolfgang Beltracchi, who claimed that his paintings were done by Picasso among others. Diaries alleged to be those of Adolph Hitler were actually written in the 1980s by forger Konrad Kujau.
Identity theft involves using another person’s personal information and is generally prosecuted under specific identity theft laws. In most cases of forgery, the prosecution must show intent.
People who are facing charges related to forgery may want to consult an attorney. A defense might focus on intent or on other elements of the allegation, such as whether the person was the one responsible for the forgery or identity theft. In some cases, a person might agree to a plea bargain instead of going to trial. This may involve the person pleading guilty to reduced charges and receiving a lighter sentence. An attorney may be able to advise a client regarding the best possible course of action.