Signing someone else's name on a legal document, creating a fake ID or presenting a forged check to be cashed, could all be charged as the white collar crime called forgery. Under Ohio Revised Code, Section 2913.31, forgery can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the crime.
Generally, selling or creating fake IDs are classified as first-degree misdemeanors, while other forgery crimes are typically classified as fifth-degree felonies. However, forgery crimes can result in second to fourth-degree felonies is certain circumstances. For example, if the crime victimizes an elderly or disabled person, or if the property, services or loss is valued at $150,000 or more, it may be classified as a third-degree felony.
In order to be charged with a forgery crime, prosecutors will typically have to establish that the accused created a fake document or changed the document in a significant way. Prosecutors must also prove that the accused committed the forgery with intent to defraud. This may mean they had the intent to commit larceny, or the intent commit fraud.
Anyone convicted of committing a forgery crime in Ohio could face significant fines and jail time. Misdemeanor crimes may result in 180 days in jail for first time offenders and an additional $250 fine for second time offenders. For fifth-degree felony forgery convictions, one may face six months to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Luckily, there are a few ways to defend against forgery charges and other white collar crimes. For instance, one may be able to prove that they had a reasonable belief that they were allowed to sign or change the document.