Forgery and Fraudulent Practices

Forgery

A person commits this crime if, with the intent to defraud or injure anyone, or knowing that he is facilitating a fraud or injury to be committed by anyone, he

  • alters any writing of another without his authority
  • makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers any writing so that it seems to be the act of another who did not authorize that act
  • utters (presents) any writing which he knows to be forged in a manner specified in the two bullets above

"Writing" as used in this section is defined as including printing or any other method of recording information, money, coins, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, trademarks, electronic signatures and other symbols of value, right, privilege or identification.

The grading of Forgery offenses is as follows:

  • Forgery is a felony of the second degree and punishable by 10 years of incarceration and a $20,000 fine if the writing is or purports to be part of an issue of money, instruments issued by the government, or part of an issue of stock, bonds etc.
  • Forgery is a felony of the third degree and punishable by 7 years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine if the writing is a will, deed, contract, release, commercial instrument, or other document evidencing, creating, transferring, altering, terminating or otherwise affecting legal relations.
  • If the writing is not an issue of money, nor a document affecting legal relations, then the forgery charge is a misdemeanor of the first degree and punishable by 5 years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.

Bad Checks

A person commits this offense if he issues or passes a check or similar order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee (usually a bank).

An issuer is presumed to know that the check or order would not be paid if

  • the payment was refused because the issuer had no such account with the drawee at the time the check or order was issued
  • payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds within 30 days of the check or order being issued, and the issuer failed to make other payment within 10 days after receiving notice of the refusal by the drawee (notice may be given to the issuer orally or in writing by any person)

The grading of a Bad Checks charge depends on the value of the check or order. If the check or order is valued at

  • less than $200 then the offense is graded as a summary offense and is punishable by a maximum of 90 days of incarceration and a $300 fine.
  • between $200 and $500 then the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree and is punishable by a maximum of 1 year of incarceration and a $2,500 fine.
  • between $500 and $1,000 then the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree and is punishable by a maximum of 2 years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine.
  • between $1,000 and $75,00 then the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree and is punishable by a maximum of 5 years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.
  • over $75,000 then the offense is graded as a felony of the third degree and is punishable by a maximum of 7 years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine.
  • If the offense is a third or subsequent offense within 5 years then the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree unless the check or order is over $75,000 in which case it is still a felony of the third degree.

There are specific costs associated with a conviction for Bad Checks. Following a conviction an issuer can be ordered to reimburse the payee for

  • the face amount of the check or order, and
  • interest at the legal rate on the face amount of the check or order from the date of dishonor to the drawee, and
  • a service charge if written notice of the service charge was obviously displayed on the payee's premises when the check was issued (not to exceed $50 unless the payee's bank fees exceed $50, in which case the service charge shall not exceed the actual amount of fees).

Access Device Fraud

An access device is defined as any card, including, but not limited to a credit card, debit card and automatic teller machine card or other means of account access that can be used alone or in conjunction with another access device to obtain money, goods, services or anything else of value or that can be used to transfer funds.

A person commits the crime of Access Device Fraud if he

(1) uses an access device to obtain, or attempts to obtain property or services with knowledge that

  • the access device is counterfeit, altered or incomplete
  • the access device was issued to another person who has not authorized its use
  • the access device has been revoked or canceled
  • for any other reason his use of the access device is unauthorized by the issue or the device holder (BUT it is a defense to this section if the actor can prove that he had the intent and the ability to meet all obligations to the issuer arising out of his use of the access device)

(2) publishes, makes, sells, gives, or otherwise transfers to another, or offers or advertises, or aids and abets any other person to use an access device knowing that the access device is counterfeit, altered or incomplete, belongs to another person who has not authorized its use, has been revoked or canceled or for any reason is unauthorized by the issuer

(3) possesses an access device knowing that it is counterfeit, altered, incomplete or belongs to another person who has not authorized its possession

The following can be presumed about a person charged with Access Device Fraud:

  • An actor is presumed to know an access device is counterfeit, altered or incomplete if he has in his possession two or more counterfeit, altered or incomplete access devices.
  • Knowledge of revocation or cancellation shall be presumed to have been received by an access device holder 7 days after it has been mailed to him at the address set forth on the access device application or at a new address if a change of address has been provided to the issuer.

The grading of Access Device Fraud charges is as follows:

  • The grading of an offense under subsection (1) is determined by the value of the property or service obtained or sought to be obtained by means of the access device.
  • An offense under subsection (2) is a felony of the third degree and is punishable by a maximum of 7 years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine.
  • An offense under subsection (3) is a misdemeanor of the third degree and is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year of incarceration and a $2,500 fine.
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