Fraud is a very large and encompassing category of crimes and costs companies hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Corporations have entire departments dedicated to finding and punishing perpetrators of fraud. If you have been accused of criminal fraud and/or forgery charges, understand that this is a very serious allegation and is likely to be pursued with great vigor.
Check Fraud – Most Common
At its core, fraud is being or acting dishonestly in order to gain an advantage. There are numerous ways to commit fraud, but practically speaking most fraud cases will probably be related to Fraud by check, C.R.S. 18-5-205. For our terms, the important part of the statute reads,
- “Any person, knowing he has insufficient funds with the drawee, who, with intent to defraud, issues a check for the payment of services, wages, salary, commissions, labor, rent, money, property, or other thing of value, commits fraud by check.”
It is a crime to present a check when there are insufficient funds in your bank account to cover that check. Whether the passing of the check is a felony or a misdemeanor will depend on the amount of the check. Any check for more than one thousand dollars is a class six felony carrying with it up to eighteen months in prison or a fine up to one hundred thousand dollars.
Fraud Is A Serious Charge
Needless to say, if you are facing fraud charges, you need to speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately. In addition to the possible jail time and fines, you are facing a conviction on your permanent record. A conviction can lead to loss of employment, loss of housing, and damage to future employment prospects. Any felony conviction will lead to the loss of the right to own a firearm as well.
Closely related to fraud charges, are forgery charges. Colorado Revised Statute 18-5-102, states:
(1) A person commits forgery, if with intent to defraud, such person falsely makes, completes, alters, or utters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed:
(a) Part of an issue of money, stamps, securities, or other valuable instruments issued by a government or government agency; or
(b) Part of an issue of stock, bonds, or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporate or other organization or its property; or
(c) A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, promissory note, check, or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate, or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation, or status; or
(d) A public record or an instrument filed or required by law to be filed or legally fileable in or with a public office or public servant; or
(e) A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public servant , or government agency; or
(f) Part of an issue of tokens, transfers, certificates, or other articles manufactured and designed for use in transportation fees upon public conveyances, or as symbols of valuable usable in place of money for the purchase of property or services available to the public for compensation; or
(g) Part of an issue of lottery tickets or shares designed for use in the lottery held pursuant to part 2 of article 35 of title 24, C.R.S.; or
(h) A document-making implement that may be used or is used in the production of a false document-making implement to produce false identification documents.
(2) Forgery is a class 5 felony.
(3) Uttering (the passing of a forged document) a forged document to a peace officer shall create a presumption that the person intended to defraud such peace officer.
As is evident from a reading of the statute, there are numerous ways to commit forgery. While not as common as Fraud, the penalties are even more severe. Forgery is a class five felony and carries with it up to 3 years prison and a fine up to one hundred thousand dollars. The penalties can be aggravated up to six years if the court finds particularly aggravated circumstances.
Speak to a Criminal Attorney Immediately
If you find yourself charged with either fraud or forgery, you should contact an attorney immediately. Sometimes an innocent mistake can be misconstrued and lead to criminal charges. Do not try to talk your way out of the situation. Often this makes the situation worse. Speak to an attorney before you speak to law enforcement.
Fraud and Forgery charges deal with knowledge and intent, both of which contain nuances that are not easily proved. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.