austindefender

Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Forgery?

Posted By on August 4, 2010

Yahoo says that signing someone else’s name on a check is illegal.

Signing someone else’s name on a check is generally considered forgery and would be illegal in most states, according to Carol Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the American Bankers Association in Washington, D.C. But suppose an adult child signs an elderly parent’s name because the parent is incapacitated or a parent signs a child’s name because the child is away at college. Guess what? Those signatures are still forgeries, unless a power of attorney is in effect.

“In most cases, it’s on behalf of a loved one who probably isn’t going to object, but people should know that that’s forgery,” Kaplan says.

Not exactly.
Forgery is signing someone’s name without authorization.

“Forge” means:
(A)  to alter, make, complete, execute, or authenticate any writing so that it purports:
(i)  to be the act of another who did not authorize that act;

Texas Penal Code 32.21.

If you sign someone else’s name with permission, it’s not forgery.

Some of the Judges in Travis County, for example, have signature stamps, to make signing documents easier. If one were to ask someone (her clerk, for example) to stamp some papers for her, there is no crime there.  It’s not who is holding the stamp (or the pen) that matters, it’s whether the person wielding the stamp is authorized to do it.

The law on forgery is actually even stricter than that.  In addition to being done without permission, the act has to be done “with the intent to defraud or harm another.”


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