Forgery Law and Legal Definition

Forgery is the false making or altering of a written instrument and if covered by federal and varied state criminal statutes. A person commits the crime of forgery in the first degree if, with intent to defraud, he falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument.

The most serious forgery offenses involves stock, bonds or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a business enterprise or its property, or stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government or governmental agency. Forgery of a deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment or a check, draft, note or other commercial instrument, as well as public records and official documents is also governed by state criminal statutes. Other written documents may be the subject of forgery and laws vary by state.