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While people in Virginia might have a notion of what forgery is, many don't understand how it is viewed under the law and what its penalties are. There are several levels of forgery such as public records forgery, forgery of coins or bank notes, and taking part in forging activity will face white collar crime charges. Simply because a person didn't actually forge the documents, notes or public records does not leave them immune to being charged. Using the forged documents is known as uttering.

When committing forgery and it is deemed to prejudice the rights of another, involves uttering, or a person attempts to pass these forged items as legitimate, it will be a Class 5 felony. In addition, if a person obtains another's signature and does so using false pretenses with the attempt to defraud another, it will also be considered forgery and this too will be a Class 5 felony.

With public records, certificates, returns or attestations of a record of a public employee or public officer and it is related to these items being considered legal proof, uttered, or there is an attempt to pass them off as legitimate, it will be a Class 4 felony. Trying to forge bank notes, coins or bills used in the state, or making bank notes, coins or bills of a company if there is no company, or utters in an attempt to use coins, bank notes or bills as real and knows that they are not will result in a Class 4 felony charge.

It must be remembered that white collar crime is serious. It might not seem to be on a level with other criminal acts, it can be just as damaging to a person's reputation and future. A conviction can lead to a jail sentence and other consequences. When there are accusations of being involved in forgery in any way during an investigation, it is imperative to formulate a strong legal defense from the start.

Source: leg1.state.va.us, "18.2-172. Forging, uttering, etc., other writings.," accessed on May 26, 2015

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