Forgery

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Forgery laws in Illinois cover a whole host of offenses that center on the creation, the possession, or the delivery of something with the intent to defraud. The Illinois laws on forgery are found at 720 ILCS 5/17-3. Forgery is often a charged offense along with fraud charges such as wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, or Medicare fraud. Forgery also includes the offenses of counterfeiting, possession of fraudulent identification, passing bad checks, or illegal use of credit cards.

The Illinois forgery laws are broadly written into four categories that cover all the various ways forgery could be committed. Those four forgery categories are:

  • Knowingly making a false document or altering a document to make it false.
  • Knowingly issues or delivers a forged document knowing that it was fraudulent.
  • Knowingly possessing, with the intent to issue or deliver, a forged document.
  • Knowingly using an electronic signature of another person for an unlawful purpose.

Illinois forgery laws also define the term “document” very broadly to includes not only physical documents but also electronic documents, coins, and even Universal Price Code Labels (UPC label).

Forgery is sentenced as a Class 3 felony in most cases. If the forgery only involves one UPC label then the forgery is charged as a Class 4 felony. When the forgery involves an academic degree or a coin then Illinois punishes forgery as a Class A misdemeanor.

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