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White collar crimes: Forgery comes in many forms

Without understanding what constitutes forgery, people in Michigan might find themselves facing criminal charges without realizing the potential consequences of their actions. Faking a signature, making false documents or objects, or modifying existing documents could all constitute white collar crimes. Documents that are often forged include art objects, legal contracts, licenses, historical papers, ID cards and certificates.

Some people are under the impression that only the party who forged the document committed a crime, without realizing that the person who knowingly used the forged document to defraud could also face forgery charges. Examples include a person faking his or her age by using a falsified driver's license to purchase alcohol. Signature forgery is another form of this crime, which could be on a deed, driver's license, check, will, or another formal document.

Altering existing prescriptions also constitutes forgery by which the signatures of doctors are forged to obtain medication for profit or personal use. Art forgery by which an artist's name is forged to profit from purchasers who believe they are buying an original and genuine art piece is also prevalent. Forgery is classified in different classes, depending on the severity of the crime.

Accusations of any class of forgery are serious and could have far-reaching consequences -- regardless of whether the alleged forgery is a felony or a misdemeanor. The sensible thing to do would be to consult with a Michigan attorney who has experience in dealing with white collar crimes. After assessing the charges and the evidence, legal counsel can devise the strongest possible defense in pursuit of the most favorable outcome for the client.

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