forgery (in criminal law)

forgery, in criminal law, willful fabrication or alteration of a written document with the intent to injure the interests of another in a fraudulent manner. The crime may be committed even though the fraudulent scheme fails. The forgery of government obligations—e.g., money, bonds, postage stamps—constitutes the separate offense of counterfeiting. Typical examples of forgery are making insertions or alterations in otherwise valid documents and appending another's signature to a document without permission. It is, of course, lawful to sign another's signature as his attorney or representative so long as there is no plan to commit fraud. Most instances of forgery occur in connection with instruments for the payment of money. The crime may also concern documents of title, e.g., deeds, or public documents, including birth and marriage certificates. In the United States forgery ordinarily is a state crime; but to send forged documents through the post office may constitute the federal crime of mail fraud.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Hoax: Hitler's Diaries, Lincoln's Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds
Edward Steers Jr.
University Press of Kentucky, 2013
Faking Literature
K. K. Ruthven.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Forgery or Genuine Document?
Mitchell, Angus.
History Today, Vol. 51, No. 3, March 2001
Attributing Authorship: An Introduction
Harold Love.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Ten "Forgery and Attribution"
A Guide to Historical Method
Gilbert J. Garraghan; Jean Delanglez.
Fordham University Press, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Eight "The Authenticity of Sources"
Books Alive: A Profane Chronicle of Literary Endeavor and Literary Misdemeanor
Vincent Starrett.
Random House, 1940
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Seven "The Fine Art of Forgery"
Archives and the Public Good: Accountability and Records in Modern Society
Richard J. Cox; David A. Wallace.
Quorum Books, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "What You Get Is Not What You See: Forgery and the Corruption of Recordkeeping Systems" begins on p. 247
The Gateway to History
Allan Nevins.
D. Appleton-Century, 1938
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Five "The Cheating Document"
Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
Bart D. Ehrman.
Oxford University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Part One "Forgeries and Discoveries"
The Perreaus and Mrs. Rudd: Forgery and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century London
Donna T. Andrew; Randall McGowen.
University of California Press, 2001
Men of the Underworld: The Professional Criminals Own Story
Charles Hamilton.
Macmillan, 1952
Librarian’s tip: "The Terror of Wall Street: George Bidwell (Forger)" begins on p. 58
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