Forgery or Uttering?
White Collar crimes can oftentimes overlap one another and are can be very technical. White Collar Crimes will typically be prosecuted by a white collar crime unit in a District Attorneys Office, or by the Attorney General’s Office. Two such crimes that can sometimes lead to confusion are forgery and uttering.
What is the difference between uttering and forgery?
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 267 Section 5 criminalizes Uttering: “Whoever, with intent to injure or defraud, utters and publishes as true a false, forged or altered record, deed, instrument or other writing mentioned in the four preceding sections, knowing the same to be false, forged or altered, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or in jail for not more than two years.”
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 267 Section 1 criminalizes Forgery: Whoever, with intent to injure or defraud, falsely makes, alters, forges or counterfeits a public record, or a certificate, return or attestation of a clerk or register of a court, public register, notary public, justice of the peace, town clerk or any other public officer, in relation to a matter wherein such certificate, return or attestation may be received as legal proof; or a charter, deed, will, testament, bond or writing obligatory, power of attorney, policy of insurance, bill of lading, bill of exchange or promissory note; or an order, acquittance or discharge for money or other property or a credit card or an instrument described as a United States Dollar Traveller’s Check or Cheque, purchased from a bank or other financially responsible institution, the purpose of which is a source of ready money on cashing the instrument without identification other than the signature of the purchaser; or an acceptance of a bill of exchange, or an endorsement or assignment of a bill of exchange or promissory note for the payment of money; or an accountable receipt for money, goods or other property; or a stock certificate, or any evidence or muniment of title to property; or a certificate of title, duplicate certificate of title, certificate issued in place of a duplicate certificate, the registration book, entry book, or any indexes provided for by chapter one hundred and eighty-five, or the docket of the recorder; shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or in jail for not more than two years.
In a nutshell, forgery is making the false document, and uttering is passing it off as real. If you write a check from someone else’s account without their permission, and then cash it, that is forgery and uttering. Writing the check is forgery, cashing it is uttering. Both crimes are serious and both carry potential jail sentences.
As you can see, criminal charges in white collar cases can get technical. All of our attorneys are former Assistant District Attorneys or Assistant Attorney Generals who have handled countless large and complex white collar crimes case and have the experience needed to represent their clients who have been charged with white collar crimes or are under investigation.