They often don’t receive a whole lot of news coverage, but people in Illinois are being charged with forgery crimes all the time.
Mohd Assaf, a former Chicago Housing Authority vendor, is facing several counts of forgery and theft for allegedly signing and depositing $193,000 in fake housing authority checks. Assaf owns a painting service and allegedly cashed fraudulent checks between Nov. 2016 and Feb. 2018.
In another case, an assessor in Kingstown Township is pleading not guilty to various charges, including forgery. Jennifer Cleveland, 49, is accused of forging documents regarding property her son purchased last year.
If convicted, both could suffer significant fines and incarceration.
What can you expect if you are facing forgery charges in Illinois? Depends on which type of forgery you are charged with.
Below, we’re going to detail the three types of forgery under Illinois law and explain how we can help you fight your charges.
Definition of Forgery in Illinois
It starts with knowing how the state statutes define forgery. According to Illinois law, a person can be charged with forgery under the following conditions:
- Making a false document with an intent to defraud someone
- Issuing a document while knowing it has been fraudulently altered
- Possessing an altered document with the intent to deliver or issue it
- Using an electronic signature in an unlawful manner
- Unlawfully using someone else’s signature device to create an electronic signature
If you have been charged with any of these actions, a knowledgeable Chicago criminal defense attorney can help you understand your charges.
The Three Types of Illinois Forgery and Their Penalties
Illinois law punishes forgery in three different classes.
A Class 3 felony applies to most circumstances of forgery. A conviction may result in 2-5 years in prison, up to 18 months of periodic imprisonment, up to 30 months of probation or conditional discharge, up to $25,000 in fines for each offense, and/or restitution for the offense(s).
If one Universal Price Code label (UPC) is forged, a Class 4 felony applies. A conviction may result in 1-3 years in prison, up to 18 months of periodic imprisonment, up to 30 months of probation or conditional discharge, up to $25,000 in fines for each offense, and/or restitution for the offense(s).
A Class A misdemeanor applies for forgery of an academic degree or coin. A conviction may result in up to one year in prison, up to two years of probation or conditional discharge, up to $2,500 in fines for each offense, and/or restitution for the offense(s).
Legal Assistance for Forgery Charges
Since a forgery conviction can result in serious consequences, you need the experienced help of an aggressive white crimes lawyer who will fight to protect your freedoms. Here are some of the most common defenses we use to battle forgery charges:
Lack of intent
A forgery conviction hinges on whether you acted with intent. If there is not enough evidence to support the idea that you acted with intent, your charges may be dropped.
Mistake of fact
Again, the evidence comes into question with this defense. A skilled attorney will be able to sift through the evidence and prove that you made an honest mistake instead of an intentional one.
If you were forced to forge documents under the threat that you or a loved one could face harm, the case against you may be dismissed.
It’s important to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as charges are filed against you. We will gather evidence that supports your case and work hard to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed. Call us today for a free case review.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.