Felony Forgery Charges
Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Utah’s forgery statute can be found in the Utah Criminal Code, Utah Code Ann. 76-5-601 (2017). The felony forgery statute is written very broadly to criminals not just the classical forging of another’s signature, but creating and using false identifications or false property deeds.
A person is guilty of forgery if, with purpose to defraud anyone, or with knowledge that the person is facilitating a fraud to be perpetrated by anyone, the person:
(a) Alters an Original Writing Without Authority. Alters any writing of another without his authority or utters the altered writing; or
(b) False Document Creation. Makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues, transfers, publishes, or utters any writing so that the writing or the making, completion, execution, authentication, issuance, transference, publication, or utterance:
(i) purports to be the act of another, whether the person is existent or nonexistent;
(ii) purports to be an act on behalf of another party with the authority of that other party; or
(iii) purports to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or to be a copy of an original when an original did not exist.
The above elements of forgery is the classical forgery where the forger either alters an original document that was once authentic, but changes and alters the document in efforts and purposes to defraud people. An example of a forger altering an original document could be a check that was originally written for $100.00 dollars, but altered to state the check is in the amount of $1,000.00.
This “Altering” type of forgery is a 3rd Degree Felony in Utah.
The second type of forgery is where the forger complete creates a false document from nothing. An example could be a warranty deed purporting to convey a property interest to the forger. The warranty deed was completely made up and falsified. Another would be a falsely created Will purporting to convey an inheritance to the forger or a co-conspirator.
This “False document or Creation” of a forged document is a 2nd Degree Felony in Utah.