Forgery involves altering or creating a document for some fraudulent gain. Tampering with records is another crime that covers putting false information on official documents. Depending on the facts, you could face both charges for a single incident. For instance, since record tampering is considered less severe, you may be offered a plea deal for a record tampering conviction in exchange for the forgery charge being withdrawn.
The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division arrested 30-year-old Conshohocken resident Patrick Maxwell Rose and Vincent Alfred Trotta III, of Staten Island, New York on several charges, including nine forgery counts and one count of tampering with records in October, reports More Than the Curve.
The two worked at a commercial business in Westtown Township, and were allegedly involved in the theft of more than $200,000 from January 2017 to November 2018. Police claim funds were stolen from the company and its employees.
Forgery occurs if someone knowingly, and with the intent to defraud or injure:
The accused must intend to defraud another, though the other person need not be fooled by the document for a crime to be committed.
Pennsylvania law makes basic forgery a misdemeanor, but it becomes a felony depending on the document being faked, including a document issued by the government.
Public records tampering is usually a misdemeanor except when the false records are intended to defraud or injure someone when it becomes a felony. A conviction could include a sentence of up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Pennsylvania law states you can be charged with tampering with a public record if you knowingly:
The person arrested must know the information is false. You can be arrested even if you didn’t intend any harm. Just a small change could be enough to violate the law.
If you’re arrested for forgery, and it’s related to a government document, you could face both charges, like Mr. Rose. Often the prosecution includes the most serious crime along with lesser included offenses that fit the facts of the case.
This is done for a couple of reasons.
Plea bargaining generally involves three approaches:
Fairly few criminal charges are resolved through trials. Defense attorneys may try to get charges dismissed on technical grounds, evidentiary issues, or due to constitutional protections. If that doesn’t work, most cases end through a plea bargain. If you’re arrested, you need an experienced negotiator to get you the best plea bargain possible. It might be the right way to address your situation.
If you are charged with a white collar crime in southeastern Pennsylvania, contact the Skinner Law Firm so we can discuss the facts of your case in a free and confidential consultation at (610) 436-1410.
We may be able to reduce your charges or have them dismissed. Finding an experienced attorney who knows Pennsylvania white collar crime law could help you avoid severe punishment. Call or send us an online message today if you are facing a white collar charge in or around Chester County.