John Parks of Florida is accused of of submitting false documents to the secretary of state’s office to unlawfully acquire 12 businesses. Parks would find these victim businesses by looking up delinquent firms on the Colorado secretary of state’s website. Once he found the businesses, Parks then allegedly used his name and the identities of others to submit unauthorized statements curing delinquency and acquired the delinquent businesses by paying a fee and changing the business address and/or the registered agent information.
Forgery, or uttering a false instrument, is a serious offense, punishable as a felony in Florida and all across the United States. Forgery in Florida involves the making, altering, use, or possession of a false writing in order to commit a fraud. It may be perpetrated in many ways, from signing another person’s name on a check to falsifying one’s own academic records.
Because our society relies heavily on the ability to produce and exchange legitimate documents, forgery can have serious and far-reaching negative consequences on businesses and the consumers that use them. Customers may not be getting what they think they are paying for in a product and employees may not receive their income for work they put into an illegitimate business. For these reasons, forgery is a serious criminal offense that is punishable as a felony.
In order to be found guilty of forgery, there are several elements that the State attorney must prove including:
– Making, altering, using, or possessing
– a false writing
– with the intent to defraud
In this case, Parks is accused of using multiple people’s signatures on various documents, making material alterations constituting misrepresentation of the identity of the person who signed the document. Deleting, adding, or changing significant portions of documents may also be “material” alterations, if these changes affect the legal rights or obligations represented in the documents. In Florida, this means a felony charge of uttering a forged document.
In order to be convicted of forgery, the accused must have actually forged documents of some legal significance affecting legal rights and obligations, including deeds, conveyances, and receipts; financial instruments such as currencies, checks, or stock certificates; and other documents such as wills, patents, medical prescriptions, and works of art. Remember, if one is accused of forging a signature on a non-legal document, such as a letter or list of people, one is probably not guilty of forgery, because the document lacks legal significance.
Forgery is considered a felony in Florida and is punishable by a number of penalties including jail or prison time, significant fines, probation, and restitution payments to any of the victims for money or goods stolen as a result of the forgery. Many judges will determine the most appropriate punishment for a given crime. As such, the penalties for forgery may range from probation and community service for a minor forgery offense, to up to five years in prison and expensive fines.
Additionally, forgery is a crime of dishonesty, and it will stay on one’s public criminal record and could show up in any background search. A future employer, landlord, or creditor who sees the charge will not only know one has been convicted of a felony, they’re also more likely to believe one is dishonest and cannot be trusted.
In forgery crimes, the evidence usually something that an experienced attorney can use to defeat the State, especially showing that the accused did not in fact know the document was forged. If one is under investigation or has been arrested on forgery charges, one will need to obtain an experienced Jacksonville forgery crimes defense attorney to fight the case.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.