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FloridaLawyer, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 741
Experience:  Former State Prosecutor, licensed attorney with active criminal defense practice
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If you sign someones name to a check with their knowledge

Resolved Question:

If you sign someone's name to a check with their knowledge and permission- is this considered forgery if someone else on the account disputes it? I have in writing that one of the names on the account gave permission for me to sign their name
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  FloridaLawyer replied 9 years ago.

Hello Customer:


The short answer is yes, this can be considered forgery. You cannot sign anyone else's name, whether you are on the account or not, that is forgery. A common definition of forgery is: the crime of creating a false document, altering a document, or writing a false signature for the illegal benefit of the person making the forgery.


However, you can be an authorized "signer" on the account, meaning the account holder can give you permission or authority to sign on the account in place of him or her. For this to be legal, the account holder must not only give you permission, they have to contact the bank or financial institution and have you added for the signing authority. You often see this when a small business owner has no way to conduct banking when they are away and gives another trusted person that authority. That means you can legally sign your own name on checks and make withdrawals, etc. Perhaps this is what you were given permission to do and if the bank has a record of this you should be fine.


I hope this helps, good luck!




Customer: replied 9 years ago.
so even if the person whose name is XXXXX XXXXX account says to sign their name and you do it - you have committed a crime . Can I be prosecuted if the person on the account says she authorized me to do it and signs a document to that effect?
Expert:  FloridaLawyer replied 9 years ago.

Hello again Customer:


Technically you can be charged with the crime of forgery because you can never pretend to be someone else by signing their name. A person cannot give you permission to commit forgery by signing their name. In other words, you and only you can sign your own name. It is unique and different for each individual and you cannot give someone the authority to try to copy or duplicate it.


Whether you will ever be charged with the crime is an entirely different matter and depends a great deal on whether the alleged victim wants to pursue a criminal case against you and contacts law enforcement to make a report of the forgery.


But as I said earlier you can get a person's permission to sign your own name in place of theirs. A good example of this is a Power of Attorney where John Doe can legally sign the name John Doe in place of Jane Doe.


I hope this makes it a little clearer!


Good luck,





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