For most young people, the idea of fraud conjures images of elite hackers breaking into databases and then selling the data on onion networks. Back in the day though, it used to mean writing fraudulent checks or similar low tech methods.
Police in Dallas had quite a surprise recently after reports of a local bank being the victim of one of these more traditional fraud crimes. The case involves a woman suspected of cashing a stolen check using a fake Texas ID.
We’ll take a look at the specifics surrounding fraud crimes and forgery. After looking at the definitions we’ll go into the charges that these crimes can potentially carry and some potential defenses an experienced attorney may use.
What Does Texas Law Say About These Crimes?
The woman in question, whose identity is still unknown and who is innocent until convicted in a court of law, is wanted for the crimes of forgery for falsifying a signature on a stolen check and fraud for using the fake ID. These crimes have the following definitions in the Texas penal code:
According to the Texas Penal Code, fraud is defined as:
“fraud is a deliberate attempt to deceive another person, usually for personal or financial gain. To defraud someone is to use deceit, false information, or misleading statements in order to obtain money, goods, information, or services.”
Forgery is defined in the Texas penal code as follows:
- to alter, make, complete, execute, or authenticate any writing so that it purports:
- to be the act of another who did not authorize that act;
- to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was, in fact, the case;
- to be a copy of an original when no such original existed;
- B) to issue, transfer, register the transfer of, pass, publish, or otherwise utter a writing that is forged within the meaning of Paragraph (A); or
- C) to possess a writing that is forged within the meaning of Paragraph (A) with intent to utter it in a manner specified in Paragraph
What Are The Penalties For Fraud Crimes And Forgery?
The penalties for fraud and forgery can be extremely severe depending on the amount of money involved in the fraud crime. These crimes range from misdemeanor level up to high-level felonies.
Additionally, the conviction rate for these crimes can be quite high. Because many people attempting check fraud will do so at stores or banks, there is often video evidence of the crime. The clerk at the store or bank will also usually testify against you.
For this reason, it is important to speak with a professional who can provide guidance on the nature of the charges.
For the case in question, the woman can be brought up on charges of check fraud. Check fraud is often charged as “forgery” due to the nature of having to falsify a signature in order to commit the act.
The crime of forgery is usually charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Crimes of this level can carry a fine, not to exceed $4,000 and no more than one year in jail.
When it comes to committing check fraud being charged as forgery, however, this crime is usually elevated to a state jail felony. A state jail felony in the state of Texas carries a penalty of between 180 days and no more than 2 years in state jail, a fine not to exceed $10,000.
These are serious crimes and can lead to penalties beyond just fines and jail time. This can include loss of income from time out of work and difficulties finding employment due to the nature of the charges.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.