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Archive for the ‘Forgery’ Category

What Are the Penalties for Committing Forgery in Illinois?

January 10th, 2018 at 11:32 am

forgery, Rolling Meadows white collar crime lawyer, white collar crimes, forgery conviction, forgery allegationWhite collar crimes, especially the crime of forgery, have been featured prominently in the news recently. The crime of forgery is committed when an individual drafts or alters a writing with the intent to defraud another. However, it is important to note that each state in the U.S. defines forgery slightly differently in their respective criminal codes.

In Illinois, according to code section 720 ILCS 5/17-3, forgery is committed in Illinois when a person knowingly, and with the intent to defraud:

  • Falsifies a document in order to defraud another,
  • Issues or delivers a falsified document while knowing it to be false,
  • Possesses a falsified document with the intent to issue or deliver it while knowing it to be false,
  •  Illegally uses someone else’s digital signature, or
  • Illegally uses someone else’s signature device in order to create an electronic signature for that person.


Forgery is generally charged as a Class 3 felony in Illinois; however, if the violator forged only one Universal Price Code Label then the crime can be charged as a Class 4 felony. Additionally, if the violator was convicted of forging a coin or an academic degree (that did not explicitly state “for novelty purposes only”) then he or she can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Although the various penalties that are available for committing forgery under Illinois law vary a bit depending on the manner in which the forgery was conducted, one count of forgery that is charged as a Class 3 felony can generally be accompanied by one or more of the following penalties:

  • Restitution: The offender will almost always be ordered to pay restitution to those he or she defrauded (aka he or she will be required to pay compensation to his or her victims),
  • Imprisonment: The offender may be ordered to serve two to five years in prison; however, as an alternative to imprisonment, the offender may be placed on probation, and
  • Fine: The offender may be ordered to pay up to $25,000 in fines.

Additionally, it should also be noted that an individual who is convicted of forgery in Illinois will generally be forced to carry the forgery conviction on his or her permanent record forever as it is unlikely to be expunged or sealed.   

Charged with Forgery in Illinois? Contact a Local White Collar Crime Lawyer

If you are in need of a talented Rolling Meadows white collar crime lawyer to defend you in Illinois against a forgery allegation, look no further than the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Attorney Chris Cosley has extensive experience defending clients throughout Illinois against a wide variety of white collar crimes including conspiracy, counterfeiting, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, bribery, and of course forgery. To find out what The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can do for you, contact us today for help.



Forgery: White Collar Crime

January 11th, 2016 at 9:24 am

Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal laws, When an act of forgery involves money in someway, the crime is generally characterized as a white collar crime. According to 720 ILCS 5/17-3, forgery occurs when a person knowingly, with the intent to defraud someone else, makes a false document, object or statistic, or alters any of these to make them false. The forgery must be capable of defrauding another individual. Simply supplying a document that you know to be false can be considered forgery, as can merely having a forged document in your possession, with the intent to defraud another.

Forgeries can take many forms. Some of the most common examples of forgery include:

Identity Theft

Forged documents are commonly used in identity theft cases. One person poses as another by misrepresenting their identity, which can be as simple as filling out a form as if you were someone else, or manufacturing a fake passport or driver’s license with your photo, but someone else’s personal identification information. These crimes often arise when a person tries to take out a line of credit or obtain a credit card with personal identification information that has been misappropriated or stolen.


Counterfeiting is related to forgery, but is a more serious offense. Counterfeiting, for the most part, falls to the purview of federal jurisdiction (meaning it is a federal crime), but Illinois law also tackles the crime under the deception and frauds statutes, 720 ILCS 5/17-0.5. Counterfeiting occurs where a person manufactures something that is fake, but acts or uses the manufactured item as if it were legitimate, authorized or real. A person can counterfeit, or manufacture, any number of items, including but not limited to fake money, passports, IDs, credit cards, legal papers, and goods.

Bad Checks

When it comes to writing bad checks, there are two main types: issuing a check when you know that there are insufficient funds to cover the check’s value, and fraudulently issuing a check (either posing as someone else, or using a fraudulently obtained or stolen check). Issuing bad checks can fall under the umbrella of forgery if some aspect of the bad check is deceptive, and the person who “issues” the check does so with the intent of defrauding the recipient of the check.

What Defenses Can Be Used for Forgery Charges?

When you are charged with forgery, there are a number of defenses that could be raised on your behalf. For instance, if someone posed as you – i.e. stole your identity – and then committed forgery, you are not the person who had the intent to defraud, and you were not the person involved in the forgery.  You were merely a victim of identity theft.

It is also possible that your forgery charges could be defended against if you lacked knowledge that you were committing a forgery, which is commonly tied to lacking the intent to defraud someone. Simply making a mistake on important paperwork, or failing to notice a mistake, is not fraud or forgery, unless you had the intent to defraud another. An experienced criminal lawyer can go over the details of your alleged crime, and can help you develop the best legal defense you have available in light of the specific facts of your case.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Forgery charges are serious charges. When you need a white collar crime lawyer, contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you protect your rights in your criminal case.



White Collar Crimes: Falsified Financial Documents

November 3rd, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois tax fraud attorney, Illinois white collar crimes lawyer,Falsifying financial documents can take many forms: falsifying tax returns, bank statements, financial records, accounting documents, earnings reports, securities information, income statements, signatures, and checks are all actions that are meant to deceive the recipient of the falsified document into believing one thing, when the truth is another. These types of white collar crimes constitute deception-based crimes, which take advantage of someone else for personal financial gain.


Under 720 ILCS 5/17-3, a person is guilty of committing forgery if he or she knowingly makes a false document or alters a document to make it false with the intent to defraud someone such that the forged document is capable of defrauding another. Forgery can including knowingly giving someone a forged document, with the intent to defraud the recipient, or simply being found in possession of a forged document with the intent to deliver the forged document to someone, with the intent to defraud.

Forgery is generally a Class 3 felony; however, if the forgery is of a coin or an academic degree, it is a Class A misdemeanor, but if the forgery is of a Universal Price Code Label, it is a Class 4 felony.

Tax Fraud

Tax fraud is another common white collar crime that often involves the falsifying of financial documents in an effort to decrease the amount of state or federal taxes that are owed to the government. While no one ever wants to pay more in taxes than they have to, every person has a legally imposed tax obligation that they are required to pay. Of course there are a number of deductions, tax credits, and tax breaks that eligible individuals may take advantage of, and when these benefits are calculated and accounted properly there is no problem.

However, some people might under-represent their earnings, fail to include or document a large transaction, or might forget about a large monetary “gift” they received during the year, and fail to report it for tax purposes. For example, knowingly evading the payment of any sales tax owed to the State of Illinois is a felony crime under 35 ILCS 120/13(b), and the seriousness of the penalties for this offense depend upon the total amount of sales tax that was not paid. These types of actions are fraud if the person who does them does so with the intention of defrauding the tax authorities.

But that is not to say that making a mistake on your taxes is the same thing as tax fraud. Filing your taxes is complicated and requires filling out a lot of different forms and schedules, and people are bound to make mistakes. A mistake could be a valid defense to tax fraud criminal charges if there is proof that an error was made.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, such as forgery or tax fraud, it is important that you need to get into contact with a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately in order to preserve and protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for help today.



Ex-Hospital Employee Accused of Harassing Patients

August 30th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

In 2010, 52 year old Michelle Morrison was fired from her position of senior account representative at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates. Two years later, authorities have accused her of launching a harassment campaign against patients of the facilities. Morrison has been arrested and charged with three counts of forgery. Her bail was set at $50,000.

CBS Chicago reported that Morrison stole copies of confidential patient records, as well as hospital stationary, when she was fired. Police say that between February of 2011 and June of this year, she sent six letters to patients, threatening to expose their psychiatric information and treatment to their family and friends. She is also alleged to have told these patients that the electroshock therapy they received didn’t work and that it was medically recommended that they have frontal lobotomies.

Police claim Morrison has admitted writing the letters and told them her reason for sending them to patients was to embarrass the hospital because they had fired her. The hospital has stated that Morrison did not have any clinical interaction with patients while she was employed at the hospital.

During a search of Morrison’s home, more paperwork was recovered which could lead to additional charges. Forgery in Illinois is a Class 3 felony and Morrison faces a possible prison term of up to five years for each count if found guilty. If you are accused of a white collar crime or a felony, you need to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cook County, Illinois.

Bank Manager Accused of Stealing Elderly Customer’s Money

August 12th, 2012 at 9:02 pm

A six month police investigation has resulted in the arrest of 56 year old Lynn Pranga, a bank manager at Inland Bank’s Geneva branch. Pranga, who also serves on the Geneva Women in Business committee of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, has been charged with financially exploiting an elderly person, forgery and theft. The alleged crime occurred when she was a bank manager at the St.Charlesbranch of MB Financial Bank.

According to a report in the Daily Herald, an 81 year old customer at MB Financial complained to the bank that a five year certificate of deposit that he held there had been changed to a one year certificate and the balance was less than what he had originally deposited. An investigation by the bank revealed that between June 2009 and June 2011, $20,000 from that account, as well as two other accounts the customer had with the bank, had been withdrawn by former branch manager Pranga.

The investigation also revealed a check that Pranga had forged for $3,500, payable to MetLife Mortgage on June 24, 2009. MetLife Mortgage had filed a foreclosure suit against Pranga in December 2011, which was dismissed in June.

The charges and arrest warrant were issued through the Kane County State’s Attorney office, which also set bail at $30,000. Pranga turned herself into police and was released on $3,000 cash bond. If convicted, Pranga faces 3 to 7 years in prison on both the exploitation and theft charges, and 2 to 5 years on the forgery charge.

If you are accused of a felony, make sure you consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney or you could be convicted and sent to prison. Forgery and theft are serious charges, and the consequences for a conviction can affect you for the rest of your life. Our criminal defense lawyers in Rolling Meadows are here to provide legal advice to help you make the best decision for you.

Illinois Police Discover Massive Auto Theft Ring

August 1st, 2012 at 12:00 pm

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, authorities in Illinois reported on Monday July 30th that they broke up a large theft ring.  This ring was responsible for the theft of over 200 high end vehicles worth nearly $2.5 million.  The group targeted luxury cars such as Cadillacs, BMWs, Land Rovers and Mercedes, which they sold for a small percentage of their value on websites such as Craigslist.

A total of 21 people have been arrested to this point in time.  They live primarily on the South Side of Chicago and in the south suburbs and some are related to each other.  A ringleader of the group named Dominique Henley was convicted of identity theft, forgery, theft by deception and aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle.  He was sentenced to eight years in jail.  His father was also arrested but was only sentenced to serve 30 months of probation.

The thieves would dress up as transport workers to pick up new cars from dealerships in Cook, DuPage, Will and Lake Counties.  Often these robbers, some of whom were licensed to transport cars for dealerships, would load up a trailer with up to eight cars.   Another scam involved using a stolen social security number to buy a car on credit.  Then they would swap the vehicle identification numbers for the same make and model cars from Canada.  With that new information, they would draft the fraudulent documents necessary to transfer the title to Illinois.  The quality of paper used for the foreign titles is what initiated the 10 month investigation.

Authorities have noted that auto theft has become more and more sophisticated.  This ring involved not just the theft of vehicles but fraudulent activities such as identity theft, forgery and loan fraud.  As crimes are becoming more intricate, the laws and agencies that police them follow suit.  If you have been accused of white collar crimes or thefts of property, please contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Chicago today.

Volunteer Treasurer Receives Three Years in Prison for Stealing From Elmhurst Church

May 9th, 2012 at 11:51 am

DuPage County Judge Kathryn Creswell sentenced 54-year-old Robert Drefs to three years in prison for stealing $54,000 in funds from Messiah Lutheran Church, a small Elmhurst church, while serving as a volunteer treasurer. Drefs committed the thefts between 2008 and 2010, and forged signatures on various checks that he wrote to a now-defunct business at which he used to be employed. As a result of the thefts, the pastor and his family lost medical insurance coverage, other employees’ wages went unpaid, and other church bills fell behind. Meanwhile, Drefs continued to plead with congregation members for more money to pay the church’s operating expenses.

Drefs pled guilty to felony theft charges in a plea agreement deal that capped his potential sentence to three and one-half years. Judge Creswell gave Drefs near the maximum sentence, stating that she believed that Drefs had acted purposely to cover up his thefts.

Unfortunately, people in positions that handle money are often tempted to use the money for their own purposes, assuming that the losses will go unnoticed. Theft charges are often the result of these situations. A theft conviction can impact a person’s life for years, in that the potential penalties include a permanent criminal history, fines, restitution for the amount stolen, and jail time. As a result, it is essential to contact a qualified Skokie, Illinois criminal defense attorney for advice as soon as possible in order to prepare a defense to any criminal charges.

Illinois Lawmakers Change Definition of Forgery for 2012

April 11th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

While state lawmakers made several changes to the Illinois Criminal Code for 2012, one major change involves the broadening of the definition of forgery under Illinois law. A forgery offense is a Class 3 felony, which carries a penalty of a prison sentence ranging from two to five years, as well as a fine of no more than $25,000, and restitution in an amount of no more than the total amount of the victim’s loss. As the penalties for forgery are quite severe, it is important that everyone realize what types of conduct constitutes forgery under the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

Forgery occurs when, with the intent to defraud, a person knowingly makes a false document or alters any document so that it is false, and the document is capable by its appearance of defrauding another. Additionally, forgery occurs when a person issues or delivers such a document, or possesses the document with the intent to issue or deliver it.

In the past, a document had to appear as if it were created by another person in order to qualify as the crime of forgery. The revisions to the law, however, state that the document can be a forgery even if bears the name of and is signed by the person who actually made the document.

The revised forgery statute simplifies the elements of the crime. As a result, the state must only prove that a document is false and that it is capable by its appearance of defrauding another person in order to prove that someone committed the crime of forgery.

If you or a family member is accused of forgery in Illinois, it is essential that you have legal representation in order to protect your rights. Contact a Cook County, Illinois, forgery defense lawyer today for the legal assistance that you need in this situation.

Chicago Man Charged with Forgery

March 12th, 2012 at 2:45 am

Forgery is just one of illegal actions known as white-collar crimes. In general, white collar crimes are based upon deceit (versus force or violence) and are usually conducted by professionals, businesspeople, government officials, and others not typically thought of as criminals.

Illinois law provides a detailed definition of forgery, but ultimately, the term describes an instance where someone unlawfully uses another person’s signature, or marks or alters a document (or knowingly delivers or possesses the document) with the intent to defraud. A forgery conviction in Illinois requires proof not only that the document was marked, altered, or signed by the individual in question, but that that person acted knowingly and with intent to defraud. Note that an individual can still be charged with forgery in Illinois if they intended to conduct a fraudulent act, regardless of whether or not the fraudulent act was successfully completed.

One Chicago man was recently charged with forgery after police say he wrote several forged checks in both Iowa and Illinois, apparently drawn from his dead uncle’s bank account. According to, District Court Judge Michael Schilling suspended a five-year prison sentence and instead placed the 22-year-old on probation. He was also ordered to pay a fine of more than $1,000.

Chicago forgeryAlthough they may not get the same level of publicity as violent crimes, forgery and other white collar crimes are taken very seriously in Illinois. Forgery is a Class 3 Felony in Illinois, and those convicted of forgery could face up to 7 years in prison. If you’re currently subject to a forgery investigation in Illinois, or if you’ve already been charged with a white collar crime, contact a top Chicago white collar crime defense attorney right away. Cook County white collar crime lawyer Christopher M. Cosley offers a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.

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