If you have been charged with Forgery, look to the legal expertise of Steven R. Hunter for help with your case. Call us today at (312) 466-9466 to arrange a consultation.
Forgery requires a person to have the intent to defraud and for a person to make or alter a document apparently capable of defrauding another, or delivering such a document knowing it to have been altered, or possessing the document with the intent to deliver knowing it to have been altered. In other words, you must make or alter a document, for example a check, or give the document to someone else knowing it is phony, or possess it with the intention of giving to someone else knowing it is phony. (See 720 ILCS 5/17-3). It is usually a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison, but with probation a possibility.
The most common defense to forgery is lack of knowledge. It is not enough for the prosecution to prove that an individual possessed or delivered a forged check. The prosecution must also show that the person with the check knew it was forged or fraudulent. People v. Cohen, 343 Ill. 437, 175 N.E. 559 (1931).
That fact may be proven by circumstantial evidence. People v. Baylor, 25 Ill.App.3d 1070, 324 N.E. 2d 255 (2d Dist. 1975). For example, if individual A has a roommate and the roommate has a check stolen out of his checkbook, the checkbook was in his desk inside a locked apartment, and individual A is arrested at the bank with a forged check, attempting to deposit it in his own account, and individual A knew his roommate had been out of the country for six months, that would be circumstantial evidence that individual A knew the check was forged.
This is true even if no one saw individual A forge the check and he did not admit he knew the check was forged.
Nevertheless, it is often difficult for the prosecution to prove an individual knew a document was forged as long as he does not make a statement about the check. It is often an effective defense to argue that the defendant is actually an innocent victim, who was given a fake or forged check in payment of a debt.
If you or a loved one has been charged with Forgery, we're here to help. Call us today at 312) 466-9466 to arrange an in-office consultation.