Forgery is a crime that is being taken more seriously these days because of the prevalence of identity theft and similar modern-day theft. This offense is punishable as either a violation of South Carolina law or federal law. When forgery is treated as a federal offense, the potential penalties can be much more severe.
In addition, federal cases are usually handled by investigators and prosecutors who are seasoned veterans with a great deal of experience prosecuting this type of offense. So, if you are facing charges or are being investigated for federal forgery violations, it would be wise to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. A skilled South Carolina federal forgery lawyer may know how to protect your rights and help ensure the best possible disposition of your case.
Traditionally, forgery is the act of making a fake document or altering a legitimate document in a false manner to use it fraudulently. Possessing and using forged documents, sometimes referred to as uttering a false document, used to be treated as a separate offense, but is now considered to constitute forgery as well.
In many cases, forgery is prosecuted under state law as a fraud offense, but the federal government can step in to prosecute particularly egregious forgery offenses including those involving identity theft, forgery of certain federal documents, and the creation of fake currency, also known as counterfeiting. For more information, get in contact with a South Carolina federal forgery lawyer today.
Identity theft involves the illegal collection and use of someone’s personal information for use in a deceptive or fraudulent manner, usually for financial gain. Although South Carolina and other states have enacted laws prohibiting identity theft or identity fraud because electronic communications and transactions have made identity theft such a common and costly offense, the federal government enacted and prosecutes these federal offenses as well.
For example, the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act makes it a felony offense to knowingly transfer[s], possess[es], or use[s], without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, or in connection with, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law (18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7).
Depending on the identifying documents involved, this crime is generally punishable by up to fifteen years of imprisonment and a fine, as well as the forfeiture of property involved in the commission of the offense. It is highly recommended that a person facing this offense should retain the services if a South Carolina federal forgery lawyer today.
It does not surprise most people in South Carolina to hear that forgery of documents involving money is a serious federal offense, but it is important to be aware that the forgery of other federal documents is also treated as a serious crime. For instance, forging the seal of any U.S. agency or government department is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison. (18 U.S.C. § 506)
In addition, U.S. laws also prohibit the creation or use of false documents even if they do not purport to be issued by a federal agency, if the documents are being used to defraud the federal government. For instance, it is unlawful to use or possess a forged document for satisfying immigration requirements. (8 U.S.C. 1324c).
Federal forgery laws can differ substantially from the forgery laws of South Carolina. So, anyone who may be charged with violating U.S. forgery statutes would be wise to seek help from a South Carolina federal forgery lawyer who understands how forgery offenses are prosecuted in federal court, and how to create the best defensive strategy for your situation.