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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7438
Experience:  Experienced Family Law Attorney
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I read that forgery can be defined as "possession, and

Customer Question

I read that forgery can be defined as "possession, and intent to distribute" along with actually signing someone else's name but to what extent? Three trustees of my family trust have been lying to me for a few years about some changes they made to the trust. They forged my signature on the notifications of those changes. I know I can sue for breach of fiduciary duty but I don't think a lot will happen there, what about forgery? I finally got a lawyer and after some time he was able to get a copy of the trust and I was hand delivered a copy myself, those documents contained two of my forged signature. Is this considered distributing? My lawyer is out of town for s month and can't be reached...
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 8 months ago.

I am sorry to hear this; a few minutes please

Expert:  LegalGems replied 8 months ago.

Here is the relevant statute:

21-5823.Forgery. (a) Forgery is, with intent to defraud:

(1) Making, altering or endorsing any written instrument in such manner that it purports to have been made, altered or endorsed by another person, either real or fictitious, and if a real person without the authority of such person; or altering any written instrument in such manner that it purports to have been made at another time or with different provisions without the authority of the maker thereof; or making, altering or endorsing any written instrument in such manner that it purports to have been made, altered or endorsed with the authority of one who did not give such authority;

(2) issuing or distributing such written instrument knowing it to have been thus made, altered or endorsed; or

(3) possessing, with intent to issue or distribute, any such written instrument knowing it to have been thus made, altered or endorsed.

(b) (1) Forgery is a severity level 8, nonperson felony.

(2) On a first conviction of forgery, in addition to any other sentence imposed, a person shall be fined the lesser of the amount of the forged instrument or $500.

(3) On a second conviction of forgery, a person shall be required to serve at least 30 days' imprisonment as a condition of probation, and fined the lesser of the amount of the forged instrument or $1,000.

(4) On a third or subsequent conviction of forgery, a person shall be required to serve at least 45 days' imprisonment as a condition of probation, and fined the lesser of the amount of the forged instrument or $2,500.

(5) The person convicted shall not be eligible for release on probation, suspension or reduction of sentence or parole until the person has served the mandatory sentence as provided herein.

(c) In any prosecution under this section, it may be alleged in the complaint or information that it is not known whether a purported person is real or fictitious, and in such case there shall be a rebuttable presumption that such purported person is fictitious.

please notice between the clauses there is an "or", not an "and" so only one prong needs to be met to be actionable.

Distributing involves providing copies of the forgery to third parties, so if one trustee gave the copy to another trustee that would be an example of distribution.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Would provided no a copy to my attorney be considered distribution?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry about the auto correct... I meant "would providing a copy to my atty..."
Expert:  LegalGems replied 8 months ago.

Generally documents provided in the course of litigation are accorded privileges, so that would not generally be construed as distribution. However, the statute does not require distribution - meeting the first prong of the statute is sufficient to find a violation.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry, I thought I asked my question but apparently it didn't post... Does the context that a forged signature is used in make a difference? Its only on a couple of notifications of amendments made to my family trust, really not that big of a deal, it's not like I had any losses due to it. Does it make a difference if there were two documents that had my signature forged? Would that be two counts?
Expert:  LegalGems replied 8 months ago.

Yes, that is correct; each forgery is a separate count; those documents would be invalid, and each would give rise to criminal liability.

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