The Crime of Forgery in Massachusetts

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, the crime of forgery is broadly defined as the act of forging or falsifying another person’s handwriting or expressing any untrue statement with prejudice or malice with the purpose or intent to defraud another person. Forgery is often viewed as a white-collar crime because it is a non-violent act done with deception for financial gain. Forgery is a property crime which may encompass the alteration of many different kinds of documents. However you view the issue of forgery, it is a significant crime that is investigated seriously by the police and prosecuted vigorously in the courts.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts forgery is specifically defined as the intent to injure, defraud, falsely make, alter, forge or counterfeit the following things:

  • Public Record
  • Certificate
  • Charter
  • Deed
  • Will
  • Testament
  • Bond
  • Bill
  • Promissory Note

Any type of alteration or forgery done to the documents listed above will result in criminal charges that are pursued to the fullest extent of the law.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the property crime of forgery is a concurrent felony crime that is codified in M.G.L. c 267 § 1. It can be prosecuted in either the district or superior court. A conviction on forgery in Massachusetts can result in punishment of imprisonment in the state prison for up to ten years or a jail or house of correction sentence of up to two years. A convicted defendant may also be subject to court fees and fines as well as supervised probation with mandatory reporting to a probation officer. In order to order to prove the defendant guilty of this offense, the Commonwealth must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the defendant falsified, altered or counterfeited one or more significant parts of the document in question;
  2. That the defendant did so with the intent to injure or to defraud someone.

To be a forgery crime, something relating to a legal document itself, as distinguishing from its contents, must be false. If someone has made a false statement within a document, that is a separate crime under some circumstances, but not an offense of forgery. Forgery is concerned with the genuineness of the document itself, rather than the truth of the contents of the document.

There are three ways in which forgery can be committed. The first is to counterfeit or even produce what looks to be a genuine legal document, but is in fact a phony document. The second way is to falsely fill in one or more important parts of a genuine document, for example, by forging someone else’s signature on a check or a bill of sale. And the third and last way, is closely related to the second, and that is altering in a significant way one or more parts of a genuine document that has already been made out, for example, changing the amount on a check.

Boston, Massachusetts Forgery Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney

Massachusetts forgery charges are very serious and they demand serious legal representation. Burning of personal property is prosecuted aggressively and anyone convicted of doing so faces harsh legal penalties including jail time, probation, restitution, fines, fees and all other collateral consequences that result from a conviction. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has been practicing criminal defense in Massachusetts for 19 years and has the experience and legal skills necessary to vigorously defend your Massachusetts burning insured property criminal case. It is of the utmost importance to confidentially discuss your criminal matter right away with an experienced attorney and not to confide in and give statements to police detectives and fire investigators who are specifically trained to detect crime to ensure preparation for the strongest case possible for prosecution. Contact Attorney Murphy today at (617) 367-0450 or through the contacts tab on our website to discuss your case confidentially and free of charge.

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