I read an interesting article about the most forged celebrity signatures in 2012.  I was far from shocked when I read that the top two most forged celebrity signatures belonged to Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

However, what this article did not mention was the penalties that one faces if convicted of wire fraud or mail fraud for forging the signatures of famous individuals and then selling them.

What Is Mail Fraud?

Mail fraud is a Federal offense.  It involves the intent to deceive others or the government by use of the U.S. Postal Service.  For example, if an individual unlawfully acquires money or valuables by use of the United States Postal Service, they may be guilty of mail fraud.  Those convicted of mail fraud can serve prison sentences of up to 20 years.

What Is Forgery?

Forgery occurs when one “falsely makes or alters a writing with apparent legal significance with the intent to defraud.”  For example, when a person offers as genuine a forged instrument with the intent to defraud, they are guilty of forgery.  Furthermore, knowingly possessing forgery equipment also warrants felony charges.

What Are The Penalties for Forgery?

  • Felony charge
  • Imprisonment
  • Fines

What To Do If You Think You’re a Victim of Forgery:

If you think someone is using your identity unlawfully, immediately notify the following organizations:

  • The Federal Trade Commission
  • The U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  • Your state or local consumer protection agencies
  • Police Department: File a police report
  • Bank: If someone has defrauded your finances, contact your bank

For more information about forgery or other felony crimes, visit LawInfo’s Free Legal Resource Library.