Is Forgery a State or Federal Crime?

Posted by Moe Ahmad | May 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Forgery is knowingly producing, possessing, or issuing an altered copy of a document or signature with the intent to defraud another. Depending on the type of material that was falsified, forgery can be charged as either a state or federal crime.

When Is Forgery a State Crime?

In Illinois, a person commits forgery when they:

  • Make a false official document, and they know it will deceive another person
  • Present or issue a document, knowing it is fake
  • Possess an altered document with the intent to use it to defraud someone
  • Use someone else's digital signature
  • Use someone else's signature device, such as a code, PIN, or private key, to create an electronic signature of that person

At the state-level, forgery can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If a person forges an academic degree or coin, they can be charged with a misdemeanor and punished by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

If a person forges only one Universal Price Code, they can be charged with a fourth-degree felony. They could spend up to 3 years in prison and face a fine of up to $25,000.

In general, forgery is charged as a third-degree felony. If convicted, a person could be punished by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

When Is Forgery a Federal Crime?

Forgery is a federal crime when the person knowingly creates or possesses false documents such as money, postage stamps, military documents, letters patent, money orders, or other government-related instruments.

Punishments for federal forgery depend on the type of document that was altered. For example, a person who forges letters patent could be fined and/or sent to prison for up to 10 years. Forging postage stamps could be punished by a fine and/or prison sentence of up to 5 years.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Ahmad Law Firm Today

If you have been accused of forgery, retain the legal services of an attorney committed to protecting your rights. At Ahmad Law Firm, we have years of experience helping individuals through various criminal matters and will provide the legal defense you need.

Call us at (847) 791-2294 or contact us online discuss your case.

About the Author

Moe Ahmad

Attorney Mohammad (Moe) Ahmad received his Juris Doctor Degree from Western Michigan University, Cooley Law School. As a skilled trial lawyer and former prosecutor of the...


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