Understanding The Difference Between Fraud & Forgery in Missouri

Forgery and fraud are both illegal in all states, and many of us use these terms interchangeably. However, fraud and forgery and two different types of charges with subtle differences. If you’ve been charged with fraud or forgery in Missouri, discussing your case with a criminal defense attorney you trust is critical to running your case. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the charges of your case, you could be facing misdemeanor and even felony charges.

Today on the blog, we will discuss the difference between fraud and forgery, and what you need to do if you find yourself up against such charges. 

What is Fraud?person writing a check - forgery in Missouri

According to Fraud.net, “Fraud denotes any kind of practice of dishonesty of a person or a company for financial advantage. It is generally considered a well-thought-out crime by the law.”  What this means is that when a person misrepresents the truth or lies for financial gain, by way of loan, altering accounts, theft, forging checks, creating fake websites, etc. he or she is guilty of fraud. Under Missouri law, a person will be charged with a class A misdemeanor and will be required to pay the state or other party the amount that is owed in congruence with the crime. A second or any subsequent Fraud offense will charge a person with a Class E Felony. A class E Felony in Missouri can land you up to 4 years in prison and over $10, 00 in fines. 

What is Forgery?

The difference between forgery is that forgery is a type of fraud. Knowing that forgery is a type of fraud means that you can be charged with Fraud if you’ve committed forgery, but if you’ve committed fraud, it could mean any number of things (as you can see from above). Within the crime of forgery, several elements make up this crime, as illustrated by this article from Findlaw. According to Findlaw, the following components are required to be found guilty of forgery in Missouri:

The act of forgery requires a false signature, document, or the imitation of an object that is used with the intent to deceive another, most often for capital gain. Since forgery is a type of fraud that is most often the “charge” that is given to the crime. When it comes to crimes of fraud, most specifically forgery, most states require that the imitation be done with the intent to commit fraud or theft for it to be a crime. The most common type of forgery is when someone signs another person’s name on a check. Other documents that are commonly forged include:

  • Legal Contracts
  • Historical Papers
  • Diplomas
  • Art Objects
  • Licenses
  • Certificates
  • Identifications Cards (Usually charged under the crime Identity Theft in Missouri)


Facing Fraud or Forgery Charges in Missouri? Hire a Criminal Defense Attorneycriminal defense attorney

If you’ve been charged with fraud or forgery charges in Missouri, it may feel like you have no one to turn to or no other option than to plead guilty. However, one of the critical principles of finding a person guilty of fraud or forgery is that the crime is not committed unless the act was done with the intent to deceive or with the intent to commit or attempt to commit fraud or larceny. One example of this, as Findlaw points out, is that a person can replicate a piece of art for their own use, and as long as they don’t attempt to sell the copy or represent the copies as originals for sale it’s not a crime. Once a person knowingly tries to deceive another in an attempt to get money, they are breaking the law. 

As criminal defense attorneys, we want to help you tell “your side of the story” so that the charges against you can be either dismissed or reduced. At Missouri Legal, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help build you a strong case based on facts. We understand that mistakes happen and are here to provide you with the professional help you need to get out of this mess. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss the charges you are facing, contact Missouri Legal today