Los Angeles Forgery Attorneys
The media has written forgery off as a less serious crime, something that probably won’t have a large impact on your life if you’re accused of it. But that isn’t at all true. A forgery charge, like most criminal charges, can tear your life apart and leave you with broken relationships, no job, and a terrible reputation.
Forgery is a serious crime that requires the experience and mindfulness of a powerful defense team fighting by your side. That’s why if you have been accused of forgery in Los Angeles, you should contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP for the best possible defense. We have years of experience as criminal defense attorneys, and we know our way around the system. We understand that you are likely feeling frightened and stressed, unsure of what your future will look like. Contact us at (213) 688-0460 and let’s discuss your Los Angeles white collar crime case, and what we can do to help you feel secure again.
California Penal Code 470 outlines the details of forgery, which is the knowledgeable signing, altering, making, or using a fraudulent written document to illegally obtain something of monetary worth from a person and/or a business. The document can be handwritten, printed, typed, or recorded in some way with words and used as a legal document.
Forgery is a complex issue that can either be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, and it can be classified as either a state or federal crime, depending on its severity. Several examples of forgery include:
- Forging a signature
- Digitally altering a document
- Filing invalid insurance documents
- Writing a bad check
- Forging artwork
Forgery is usually a charge that accompanies other charges, and the prosecution must prove that a defendant had specific intent to defraud an entity. Usually, the charge is designated as a misdemeanor or felony based on the amount of money involved in the activity.
The prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a person had full knowledge and intent to create an invalid document. They must present the actual document and prove that the person they charged with forgery was the person who signed or created said document.
When we think about forgery, we tend to imagine characters from the movies who recreate valuable works of art and pass them off as real. But forgery laws also include what’s commonly referred to as writing a bad check. Under California law, you can be convicted of forgery for writing a check when you know there are insufficient funds to cover the amount or when you stop payment after writing the check.
To convict a person of check fraud, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended to defraud the other party and they were aware that there wasn’t enough money in the account to cover the check. You can be charged with check fraud whether you were writing a check in your own name, or if you were acting on behalf of another person, business, or organization.
For a first offense, it’s a lot easier for the defendant’s lawyer to get a case dismissed by arguing that the bad check was simply written in error. If they have previously been convicted of check fraud or they wrote a number of bad checks, it becomes more difficult to convince the court that it was just a mistake.
California Penal Code Section 473 addresses the penalty phase of a conviction, though penalties will vary depending on the specifics of the crime, the position of the victim, and any other charges pending.
The crime is determined to be a misdemeanor if the value of the allegedly forged check or document is not worth over $950 in total value. A person convicted of the misdemeanor will not face more than a year in jail and may be given probation instead. They could be facing fines of up to $1,000.
If the amount of a bad check is more than $950, or if the defendant wrote more than one bad check and the total amount of the checks exceeds $450, the defendant may be facing felony charges, with penalties that include fines of up to $10,000 and up the three years in county jail. A person can also be charged with felony check fraud if they have previously been convicted for passing bad checks.
The federal government is unlikely to prosecute a defendant for forgery unless the amount of money involved is substantial, it’s a high-profile case, or the crime was committed in conjunction with other federal offenses. If you are charged with felony forgery at the federal level, you may be facing fines between $10,000 and $25,000 and a prison sentence from 5 to 10 years for a single offense.
Penalties for these crimes go above and beyond incarceration and fines. You can be denied certifications and jobs based on any conviction. There could be social consequences for having a record and there will be economic downturns from job loss and time away from work. A great defense is essential for your freedom and your family's future.
Art crime is a big deal. In fact, the US Department of Justice lists art crime as the third highest-grossing criminal activity in the world, behind drug trade and arms dealing. With art prices going up and up, many criminal enterprises have begun to use buying and selling artwork as a way to launder dirty money.
With art crimes becoming more prominent, they are starting to catch the attention of state and federal officials. Defendants accused of forging works of art may be prosecuted under criminal fraud and forgery laws. They can also be prosecuted on federal charges of copyright infringement, and if the artwork is sold over the internet, federal wire fraud charges can also apply.
We can help you defend yourself if you have been accused of forgery by hiring our own professionals who will investigate the government's claims without a preordained agenda. Our team's investigation is more thorough than that of the official investigators because we look at the problem from every possible angle, which the investigators do not have time to do.
Our team works to suppress irrelevant evidence and dismiss any charges that aren't valid. Most importantly, our team is aggressive when it comes to protecting our clients in and out of the courtroom as we create a fully legal and valid defense that disproves the prosecutor's claims of intent.
There are several defensive positions we can take. First of all, if it wasn't you, then it may be a case of mistaken identity or a false allegation. Were you coerced, or is it a case of entrapment? Were you suffering from any psychological issues at the time? Does the prosecution have accurate evidence of any wrongdoing? Our team is tenacious and ready to back you up under any circumstances.
Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP operates in Southern California, but our expertise goes far beyond that. We know how to navigate the pitfalls of the media due to our high-profile clientele and have learned to use it to our advantage.
We have extensive experience in white-collar crimes and have proven top-rated and positive results in many cases. We truly understand your fear, and our amazing team offers the best defense with the greatest resources available.
Call us at (213) 688-0460 or contact us through our website to schedule a FREE consultation. Come discuss your future with us.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.