2020 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 9 - Forgery and Fraudulent Practices
Article 1 - Forgery and Related Offenses
§ 16-9-1. Forgery; Classification of Forgery Offenses
- As used in this Code section, the term:
- "Bank" means incorporated banks, savings banks, banking companies, trust companies, credit unions, and other corporations doing a banking business.
- "Check" means any instrument for the payment or transmission of money payable on demand and drawn on a bank.
- "Writing" includes, but shall not be limited to, printing or any other method of recording information, money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, trademarks, and other symbols of value, right, privilege, or identification.
- A person commits the offense of forgery in the first degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly makes, alters, or possesses any writing, other than a check, in a fictitious name or in such manner that the writing as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority and utters or delivers such writing.
- A person commits the offense of forgery in the second degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly makes, alters, or possesses any writing, other than a check, in a fictitious name or in such manner that the writing as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority.
- A person commits the offense of forgery in the third degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly:
- Makes, alters, possesses, utters, or delivers any check written in the amount of $1,500.00 or more in a fictitious name or in such manner that the check as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority; or
- Possesses ten or more checks written without a specified amount in a fictitious name or in such manner that the checks as made or altered purport to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority.
- A person commits the offense of forgery in the fourth degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly:
- Makes, alters, possesses, utters, or delivers any check written in the amount of less than $1,500.00 in a fictitious name or in such manner that the check as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority; or
- Possesses less than ten checks written without a specified amount in a fictitious name or in such manner that the checks as made or altered purport to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority.
(Code 1933, § 26-1701, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Ga. L. 1969, p. 857, § 6; Ga. L. 2012, p. 899, § 3-5/HB 1176.)Cross references.
- Requirements regarding affixing of signatures to negotiable instruments, § 11-3-401 et seq.Editor's notes.
- Ga. L. 2012, p. 899, § 9-1(a)/HB 1176, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2012, and shall apply to offenses which occur on or after that date. Any offense occurring before July 1, 2012, shall be governed by the statute in effect at the time of such offense and shall be considered a prior conviction for the purpose of imposing a sentence that provides for a different penalty for a subsequent conviction for the same type of offense, of whatever degree or level, pursuant to this Act."Law reviews.
- For article on the 2012 amendment of this Code section, see 29 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 290 (2012).JUDICIAL DECISIONS
- General Consideration
- Jury Instructions
- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Penal Code 1895, §§ 240, 243, former Penal Code 1910, §§ 231, 232, 236, 241, 245, and former Code 1933, § 26-3910, are included in the annotations for this Code section.
Uttering or delivering writing is an essential element of forgery in first degree. Ward v. State, 123 Ga. App. 216, 180 S.E.2d 280 (1971); Reeves v. State, 139 Ga. App. 214, 228 S.E.2d 201 (1976); Stone v. State, 166 Ga. App. 245, 304 S.E.2d 94 (1983); McGowan v. State, 173 Ga. App. 438, 326 S.E.2d 805 (1985).
Time is not an essential element of forgery in the first degree and a variance of several days between the date of the offense in the indictment and the proof is not fatal. Thompson v. State, 163 Ga. App. 828, 296 S.E.2d 123 (1982).Pecuniary damage not necessary element.
- Statutory definition of forgery in the first degree does not contain a requirement of pecuniary damage; it only requires an intent to defraud coupled with the possession of an altered writing and delivery thereof. Heard v. State, 181 Ga. App. 803, 354 S.E.2d 11 (1987).
If writing purports to have legal efficacy it may be the subject of forgery. Chambers v. State, 22 Ga. App. 748, 97 S.E. 256 (1918) (decided under former Penal Code 1910, § 231).
There need be no signature to constitute a forgery. Curtis v. State, 16 Ga. App. 678, 85 S.E. 980 (1915) (decided under former Penal Code 1910, § 245).
Intent to defraud is essence of the crime and must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Chambers v. State, 22 Ga. App. 748, 97 S.E. 256 (1918) (decided under former Penal Code 1910, § 231).
District court's finding that the defendant was personally involved in making a fraudulent card had no bearing on whether the defendant committed forgery under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(b), nor did it appear to affect the defendant's sentence upon revocation of supervised release; sentence of 12 months and a day in prison and 12 months of supervised release was not error. United States v. Thomas, F.3d (11th Cir. Apr. 24, 2013)(Unpublished).
Knowingly passing as genuine a forged instrument is conclusive of intent to defraud. Fincher v. State, 42 Ga. App. 250, 155 S.E. 344 (1930) (decided under former Penal Code 1910, § 241); Taylor v. State, 128 Ga. App. 13, 195 S.E.2d 294 (1973).
Knowledge that instrument is forged is essential ingredient of crime of uttering a forged instrument. Brown v. State, 117 Ga. App. 827, 162 S.E.2d 254 (1968) (decided under former Code 1933, § 26-3910).Uttering requires intent to injure someone.
- To complete offense of uttering forged paper, it must not only be published as true when party knows it to be fraudulent, but also with intent to injure someone. Raper v. State, 16 Ga. App. 121, 84 S.E. 560 (1915) (decided under former Penal Code 1910, § 232).
Unauthorized use of bank credit card constitutes forgery. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Renshaw, 151 Ga. App. 80, 258 S.E.2d 744 (1979), overruled on other grounds, Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Mobil Chem. Co., 172 Ga. App. 543, 323 S.E.2d 849 (1984).
O.C.G.A. § 16-13-43(a)(3) did not repeal by implication O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1. - Repeal by implication is not favored and if later Act does not embrace whole subject matter of prior Act and is not entirely repugnant to it, court should apply construction that will give the two statutes concurrent efficacy. State v. O'Neal, 156 Ga. App. 384, 274 S.E.2d 575 (1980).O.C.G.A.
§§ 16-9-1 and16-13-43(a)(3) do not proscribe same conduct. - Prosecution under former Code 1933, § 26-1701 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1) was not barred because former Code 1933, § 79A-822 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-13-43) prohibiting acquisition of controlled substance by forgery was enacted at a subsequent date. The two statutes do not proscribe the same conduct. State v. O'Neal, 156 Ga. App. 384, 274 S.E.2d 575 (1980).Proof of "authority of one who did not give such authority."
- O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1 does not require that the state prove that defendant uttered writings actually written on a third party's account, but instead only requires proof that defendant cashed checks purporting to be drawn on such an account. McBride v. State, 202 Ga. App. 556, 415 S.E.2d 13, cert. denied, 202 Ga. App. 906, 415 S.E.2d 13 (1992).
Reindictment and reprosecution under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1. - If former Code 1933, § 79A-822 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-13-43) was the exclusive section to be applied in a given case, former Code 1933, § 26-1701 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1) still generally proscribed part of same conduct, and any attempt to reindict and reprosecute would be barred by plea of former jeopardy under former Code 1933, § 26-507 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-1-8). State v. O'Neal, 156 Ga. App. 384, 274 S.E.2d 575 (1980).
Intent to defraud must be alleged in indictment. Beall v. State, 21 Ga. App. 73, 94 S.E. 74 (1917) (decided under former Penal Code 1910, § 231).
Indictment need not set out name of defrauded party. Howell v. State, 25 Ga. App. 574, 103 S.E. 799 (1920) (decided under former Penal Code 1910, § 245).Extrinsic facts necessary to establish fraud need not appear on face of indictment.
- Extrinsic facts requisite to render writing efficient as means of consummating a fraud need not appear on face of indictment, but can be shown by evidence. McLean v. State, 3 Ga. App. 660, 60 S.E. 332 (1908) (decided under former Penal Code 1895, § 243).
Indictment must allege that forged paper was uttered and published as true. Barron v. State, 12 Ga. App. 342, 77 S.E. 214 (1913) (decided under former Penal Code 1910, § 236).Evidence did not fatally vary from indictment.
- Trial court did not err in denying a defendant's motion for directed verdict of acquittal, which alleged that the evidence fatally varied from the allegations in the accusation as: (1) the defendant failed to raise a challenge to the sufficiency of an indictment through a special demurrer; and (2) the defendant admitted to possessing, endorsing, and uttering a check belonging to the victim. Tucker v. State, 283 Ga. App. 428, 641 S.E.2d 653 (2007).
While the date on one check differed from that alleged in the indictment, the other information identifying the check was sufficient to apprise the defendant of the charge. Martinez v. State, 325 Ga. App. 267, 750 S.E.2d 504 (2013).No charge of conspiracy or parties to crime required in indictment.
- While it may be better practice to charge conspiracy or parties to a crime in a forgery indictment, the absence of such does not render indictment fatally defective. Wright v. State, 165 Ga. App. 790, 302 S.E.2d 706 (1983).
Defendant may be indicted for first and second-degree forgery and convicted of only one. Ward v. State, 123 Ga. App. 216, 180 S.E.2d 280 (1971).Indictment sufficient.
- Trial court properly denied a defendant's motion to quash when the indictment quoted the language of O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1 and identified the offense as forgery in the first degree, and further identified the date and place of the offense as well as the bank on which the purported check was drawn and the check number. The defendant could not reasonably claim that the defendant was surprised by evidence at trial or was unable to prepare a defense, or that the defendant risked future prosecution for the same offense; the challenge at best went to the form of the accusation and should have been raised via special demurrer prior to trial. Wilkes v. State, 293 Ga. App. 724, 667 S.E.2d 705 (2008), overruled on other grounds, Clay v. State, 290 Ga. 822, 725 S.E.2d 260 (2012).Forgery and false writing not included in each other.
- When the defendant was convicted of first-degree forgery under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1 and false writing under O.C.G.A. § 16-10-20 for obtaining expungement order by presenting a Georgia Crimes Information Center certificate that had been altered to state that the defendant had no criminal record, the counts were not included in each other under O.C.G.A. §§ 16-1-6 and16-1-7; false writing charge did not require proof that the writing purported to be made by authority of one who in fact gave no such authority, and the forgery charge did not require proof that the writing was made or used in a matter within jurisdiction of the district attorney's office. Jones v. State, 290 Ga. App. 490, 659 S.E.2d 875 (2008).Included offenses.
- Offense of issuing bad checks is not a lesser included offense of forgery, and, in a prosecution for forgery, the trial court's failure to give a charge on issuing bad checks was not error. Adams v. State, 217 Ga. App. 759, 458 S.E.2d 918 (1995).
Offense of negotiating a fictitious check is a lesser included offense of forgery, and, in a prosecution for forgery, the trial court's failure to give a charge on negotiating fictitious checks constituted reversible error. Adams v. State, 217 Ga. App. 759, 458 S.E.2d 918 (1995).
Trial court did not err by failing to merge the defendant's convictions for giving a false name and forgery in the first degree. Clark v. State, 239 Ga. App. 245, 520 S.E.2d 245 (1999).Lesser included offense not warranted in RICO prosecution.
- As a defendant was only charged with racketeering, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(a), based on the predicate offense of forgery, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1, the defendant's requested jury instruction of a lesser-included offense of forgery was properly denied by the trial court; if the jury had not found a "pattern of racketeering activity" under former paragraph (8)(a) of O.C.G.A. § 16-14-3, the jury could not have convicted the defendant of forgery. Redford v. State, 309 Ga. App. 118, 710 S.E.2d 197 (2011).Rule of lenity applied.
- Under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(b), the defendant was guilty of intending to defraud the sheriff's department by knowingly making four writings in a fictitious name and under O.C.G.A. § 16-10-20, the defendant was guilty of knowingly and willfully making a false statement of the defendant's name, in four writings, with the intent to deceive the sheriff's department; therefore, because the two statutes provided for different penalties for the same conduct, the rule of lenity applied and resentencing was required. Martinez v. State, 337 Ga. App. 374, 787 S.E.2d 308 (2016).Merger.
- Because the defendant's convictions for forgery and theft by taking each required proof that the other did not, there was no merit to the defendant's argument that those offenses should have merged. Townsend v. State, Ga. App. , S.E.2d (Sept. 24, 2020).
Cited in Smokes v. State, 136 Ga. App. 8, 220 S.E.2d 39 (1975); Zachery v. State, 136 Ga. App. 209, 220 S.E.2d 756 (1975); Green v. State, 138 Ga. App. 466, 226 S.E.2d 618 (1976); Jones v. State, 141 Ga. App. 17, 232 S.E.2d 365 (1977); Simmons v. State, 144 Ga. App. 618, 241 S.E.2d 490 (1978); Holmes v. State, 145 Ga. App. 125, 243 S.E.2d 328 (1978); Hitchcock v. State, 146 Ga. App. 470, 246 S.E.2d 477 (1978); Bairentine v. State, 156 Ga. App. 341, 274 S.E.2d 736 (1980); Johnson v. State, 158 Ga. App. 183, 279 S.E.2d 483 (1981); Painter v. State, 159 Ga. App. 479, 283 S.E.2d 695 (1981); Cantrell v. State, 162 Ga. App. 42, 290 S.E.2d 140 (1982); Estes v. State, 169 Ga. App. 685, 314 S.E.2d 700 (1984); Minter v. State, 170 Ga. App. 801, 318 S.E.2d 226 (1984); Walden v. State, 173 Ga. App. 478, 326 S.E.2d 838 (1985); Lewis v. State, 180 Ga. App. 890, 351 S.E.2d 100 (1986); Walker v. State, 289 Ga. App. 879, 658 S.E.2d 375 (2008), overruled on other grounds, Gordon v. State, 334 Ga. App. 633, 780 S.E.2d 376 (2015).
Proof of uttering and publishing.
- Allegation of uttering and publishing is proved by evidence that defendant offered to pass instrument to another person, declaring or asserting, directly or indirectly, by words or actions, that it was good. Taylor v. State, 128 Ga. App. 13, 195 S.E.2d 294 (1973).Proof of uttering or delivering.
- With regard to a charge of first-degree forgery involving a check taken from the company checkbook of defendant's employer, the state had not shown uttering or delivering; although an employer testified that an unidentified person from a service station had demanded payment of the check after the employer stopped payment on the check, no one from the service station testified that the check had been presented there, no bank witness testified that stamps on the check were deposit stamps, and the employer's testimony that someone from the service station had demanded payment was inadmissible hearsay. Archer v. State, 291 Ga. App. 175, 661 S.E.2d 230 (2008).Proof of uttering.
- Uttering element was established by sufficient evidence that the defendant's friend presented the check to a bank for cashing at the defendant's behest; the trial court properly charged the jury on the corroboration requirement for accomplice testimony. King v. State, 277 Ga. App. 190, 626 S.E.2d 161 (2006).What constitutes uttering.
- See Walker v. State, 127 Ga. 48, 56 S.E. 113, 119 Am. St. R. 314, 8 L.R.A. (n.s.) 1175 (1906) (decided under former Penal Code 1895, § 240).Evidence supporting venue.
- Evidence that a forged instrument was forged in a given county would, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, warrant the inference by the jury that the uttering was committed in that county. Howard v. State, 181 Ga. App. 187, 351 S.E.2d 550 (1986).
Since there was evidence from the defendant's confession to police and testimony from bank employees, together with physical evidence, that the defendant wrote a check out from a victim's checkbook in the defendant's name and then cashed the check at the bank, there was sufficient evidence to support a conviction for forgery in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(a); the element of venue was properly established by the evidence as well pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-2-2(a). Bell v. State, 284 Ga. 790, 671 S.E.2d 815 (2009).
Checks which were basis for prior forgery conviction can be offered for handwriting comparison as to checks at issue in forgery case on trial, as they had a direct relevancy to case and, therefore, were not objectionable because they also tended to show a distinct and separate crime on part of appellant. Watkins v. State, 151 Ga. App. 510, 260 S.E.2d 547 (1979).
Availability of handwriting samples other than previously forged checks does not affect rule as to admissibility of checks forming basis of prior forgery conviction. Watkins v. State, 151 Ga. App. 510, 260 S.E.2d 547 (1979).Alleged returning of check.
- Defendant's testimony that defendant placed a personal check in the drive-in receptacle but had found it on the ground and was merely attempting to return it and did not intend to cash it was sufficient to warrant denial of a directed verdict of forgery. Tucker v. State, 208 Ga. App. 224, 430 S.E.2d 84 (1993).
Forgery may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Hudson v. State, 188 Ga. App. 684, 374 S.E.2d 212 (1988).
Forgery and each individual factual element thereof are capable of proof by direct and/or circumstantial evidence. Johnson v. State, 211 Ga. App. 151, 438 S.E.2d 657 (1993).
Defendant forced the victim to sign checks while being held at gunpoint and the victim did not authorize the victim's signature on the checks; thus, when the defendant tried to cash the checks, the defendant committed forgery. Sapp v. State, 271 Ga. 446, 520 S.E.2d 462 (1999).Evidence sufficient for conviction.
- See Woody v. State, 166 Ga. App. 666, 305 S.E.2d 365 (1983); Howard v. State, 181 Ga. App. 187, 351 S.E.2d 550 (1986); Gaily v. State, 181 Ga. App. 906, 354 S.E.2d 442 (1987); Carruth v. State, 183 Ga. App. 203, 358 S.E.2d 610 (1987); Faulkner v. State, 186 Ga. App. 879, 368 S.E.2d 820 (1988); Chapman v. State, 187 Ga. App. 746, 371 S.E.2d 273 (1988); McIntosh v. State, 188 Ga. App. 387, 373 S.E.2d 858 (1988); Foster v. State, 193 Ga. App. 368, 387 S.E.2d 637 (1989); Matula v. State, 264 Ga. 673, 449 S.E.2d 850 (1994); Jenkins v. State, 217 Ga. App. 655, 458 S.E.2d 497 (1995); Huewitt v. State, 218 Ga. App. 566, 462 S.E.2d 463 (1995); Williams v. State, 228 Ga. App. 622, 492 S.E.2d 290 (1997); McClure v. State, 234 Ga. App. 304, 506 S.E.2d 667 (1998); Jordan v. State, 242 Ga. App. 547, 528 S.E.2d 858 (2000); Hunt v. State, 244 Ga. App. 578, 536 S.E.2d 251 (2000); Grimes v. State, 245 Ga. App. 277, 537 S.E.2d 720 (2000).
Undisputed evidence which showed that defendant presented three checks at two banks and tried to cash them by showing his identification card and endorsing the backs of the checks was sufficient to prove not only the signing, but the possession of the checks, purportedly endorsed by others, and the utterance of said writings; moreover, such evidence was conclusive of the intent to defraud. Collins v. State, 258 Ga. App. 400, 574 S.E.2d 423 (2002).
Where defendant went to a check cashing store and gave the store manager a check made out to defendant, the check issued by a business, and where the suspicious store manager verified with the bank that the check was fraudulent, and the business manager testified that the check was not issued by the business, the evidence was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find defendant guilty of forgery in the first degree under the standard of Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979). Watson v. State, 264 Ga. App. 41, 589 S.E.2d 867 (2003).
Trial court properly entered judgments of conviction after defendant was found guilty of five counts of forgery in the first degree as the evidence was sufficient to support those convictions; the five forgeries pertained to the false name on defendant's driver's license and the false name defendant signed on four documents defendant filled out when defendant was arrested; the offense of giving a law enforcement officer a false name, a misdemeanor, was not a lesser included offense of forgery of the first degree. Quaweay v. State, 274 Ga. App. 657, 618 S.E.2d 707 (2005).
Because defendant's conviction for forgery was not only based on the police officers' identification of a single photograph, but also on the separate testimony by one of the passengers and the fact that the vehicle in question was co-registered to defendant, the use of a single photograph for identification purposes was harmless error; consequently, the jury was authorized to find defendant guilty. Brittian v. State, 274 Ga. App. 863, 619 S.E.2d 376 (2005).
Sufficient evidence supported the first degree forgery conviction under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1 because defendant allegedly cashed a check that was made out to defendant and because the construction company, on whose account the check was drawn, dishonored the check and stated that it had not given defendant permission to cash the check. Farmer v. State, 276 Ga. App. 443, 623 S.E.2d 545 (2005).
Evidence was sufficient to support a forgery conviction when the defendant endorsed a check made out to someone else with that person's name, and included a false social security number on the back of the check. Jackson v. State, 277 Ga. App. 801, 627 S.E.2d 853 (2006).
Sufficient evidence established first degree forgery as: (1) the defendant lived with the victim from whom the forged checks at issue were stolen; (2) the business owner who cashed the checks identified the defendant as the person who presented the checks; (3) the victim testified that the victim did not write the checks or authorize anyone else to do so; and (4) the defendant admitted cashing one or two of the victim's checks made payable to another at the business at which the forged checks were cashed. Overton v. State, 277 Ga. App. 819, 627 S.E.2d 875 (2006).
Based on the defendant's concession that the state's evidence tended to show an inference of the defendant's guilt in making a false claim against the county as to money the county allegedly owed to the defendant, and despite a claim that the facts supported the conclusion that the county's aquatic center director was the culpable party, when the defendant pointed to no evidence proving such, convictions for criminal attempt to commit theft by taking and first-degree forgery were supported by the evidence. Brown v. State, 285 Ga. App. 453, 646 S.E.2d 289 (2007), cert. denied, No. S07C1503, 2007 Ga. LEXIS 672 (Ga. 2007).
When the defendant gave U.S. currency to a bartender and had currency with the same serial number in the defendant's wallet, and the bartender, an officer, and a detective testified as to the chain of custody of the currency and as to the currency's physical characteristics inconsistent with genuine currency, there was sufficient evidence to support the defendant's forgery convictions under O.C.G.A. §§ 16-9-1 and16-9-2; the jury was authorized to conclude on the basis of this evidence that the currency was not genuine and that the defendant tendered one and possessed another for the purpose of defrauding the bar. Walsh v. State, 283 Ga. App. 817, 642 S.E.2d 879 (2007).
Because sufficient evidence was presented consisting of the victim's identification of the defendant as the perpetrator of a burglary, who threatened the victim with a sharp, knife-like letter opener, forcing the victim into a closet, and stealing the victim's camera upon fleeing, sufficient evidence supported the defendant's burglary, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and kidnapping convictions; further, when the letter opener was found in a search incident to the defendant's arrest, and the defendant signed a false name on a waiver of Miranda rights form, sufficient evidence supported convictions for carrying a concealed weapon and forgery. Bryant v. State, 286 Ga. App. 493, 649 S.E.2d 597 (2007).
Defendant testified to receiving the counterfeit checks that the defendant attempted to cash from someone the defendant met on a website. The evidence was sufficient to prove the defendant's intent to defraud under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1, since even if the jury believed the defendant did not know the checks were counterfeit, the defendant's failure to inspect the checks, which would have revealed that the checks were fakes, or to ask why the person who sent the checks could not cash the checks, was sufficient evidence of the defendant's willful ignorance to convict the defendant of first degree forgery. Taylor v. State, 293 Ga. App. 551, 667 S.E.2d 405 (2008).
The following evidence was sufficient to convict the defendant of felony forgery: 1) the defendant's accomplice testified to cashing forged checks supplied by defendant and giving the defendant the money; 2) surveillance tapes showed the two talking together before, and the defendant chasing the accomplice after, the checks were cashed; 3) a witness testified that, just prior to the charged offense, the witness saw the defendant use an accomplice to cash forged checks. Chandler v. State, 311 Ga. App. 86, 714 S.E.2d 597 (2011), cert. denied, No. S11C1861, 2011 Ga. LEXIS 985 (Ga. 2011).
Evidence that the defendant borrowed a sister's car, struck the rear of a slower moving car leading to the deaths of the driver and passenger, the defendant identified herself as her sister, and the defendant signed her sister's name on the Miranda form and on her written statement supported the defendant's convictions for first degree homicide by vehicle, forgery, reckless driving, and giving a false name. Smith v. State, 319 Ga. App. 164, 735 S.E.2d 153 (2012).
Evidence that the defendant received a $17,450.10 check from an entity with whom the defendant had no connection or expectation of payment and presented the check to a bank in an attempt to obtain cash was sufficient for a reasonable jury to determine that, at the very least, the defendant remained deliberately ignorant of the fraudulent nature of the checks and supported the defendant's forgery conviction. Thomas v. State, 319 Ga. App. 690, 738 S.E.2d 149 (2013).
As the jury could have inferred from the defendant's use of a photocopy of a redacted driver's license that the defendant possessed the document with an intent to defraud a prospective employer, the evidence supported the forgery conviction. Pardon v. State, 322 Ga. App. 393, 745 S.E.2d 658 (2013).
Evidence that on four of the five checks at issue, the checking account number printed on the checks was not the correct account number for the alleged issuer and the logo and signatures on the actual checks different from those on the forged checks was sufficient to support a conviction for forgery. Despite an alleged variance, the defendant was protected for further prosecution for those offenses because copies of all the checks referenced in the indictment were introduced as evidence. Martinez v. State, 325 Ga. App. 267, 750 S.E.2d 504 (2013).
Sufficient circumstantial evidence supported the defendant's conviction for forgery based on the reasonable inferences arising from the evidence showing that a check was drawn on an account of a roofing company for which the defendant never worked for, thus, the inference arose that the defendant knew that the company did not owe any money to the defendant and that the defendant was not authorized to present the check for payment. Bettes v. State, 329 Ga. App. 13, 763 S.E.2d 366 (2014).
Sufficient evidence existed to support the defendant's conviction for forgery because the evidence established that the defendant was named as the guardian in the fraudulent letters of guardianship, there was direct evidence that the defendant claimed to be the guardian of the defendant's father, and there was ample circumstantial evidence that the defendant possessed and uttered that falsified document. Graham v. State, 331 Ga. App. 36, 769 S.E.2d 753 (2015), cert. denied, 2015 Ga. LEXIS 428 (Ga. 2015).
There was sufficient evidence from which the jury could have found that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud and that the defendant knew that the signature on the contractor license application was not the defendant's business partner's signature, and the jury rationally could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the evidence excluded every reasonable hypothesis except that of the defendant's guilt of forgery. Rowan v. State, 338 Ga. App. 773, 792 S.E.2d 400 (2016).Evidence insufficient to support conviction.
- Because there was no competent evidence establishing that the defendant possessed or made a counterfeit money order, the evidence was not sufficient to sustain the defendant's conviction for forgery in the first degree in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(a); the only evidence introduced at trial to prove that money orders the defendant deposited in a bank were counterfeit was copies of the processed orders themselves, but no one testified to confirm the counterfeit status of the money orders, and no one testified that the alleged payors were fictitious persons or actual persons who never gave authority for the money orders to be issued. Holmes v. State, 315 Ga. App. 812, 727 S.E.2d 520 (2012).Evidence sufficient for conviction of financial transaction card theft and forgery.
- See Alexander v. State, 186 Ga. App. 787, 368 S.E.2d 550 (1988).
Evidence was insufficient to support defendant's conviction on an indictment charging defendant with issuing checks "signed in the fictitious name of Angela Shaw. . . ," where the evidence showed Angela Shaw was not a fictitious person, and the only evidence concerning the identity of the account on which the check was written showed that it was written on the account of Angela Shaw's employer. McBride v. State, 199 Ga. App. 527, 405 S.E.2d 345 (1991).
State failed to prove that the defendant lacked the authority to possess and deliver money orders as required to support forgery convictions under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(a) because the trial court erred in admitting the "counterfeit" stamps on the money orders as business records under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-14(b) (see now O.C.G.A. § 24-8-803), and the state failed to present any other evidence to establish that the money orders were counterfeit; the testimony of the branch manager at a bank indicated that the determination that the money orders were counterfeit was a conclusion made by a third party institution, whose representatives did not testify at trial. Forrester v. State, 315 Ga. App. 1, 726 S.E.2d 476 (2012).Hearsay testimony was harmless error.
- With regard to charge of first-degree forgery and charge of identity fraud involving checks taken from the company checkbook of defendant's employer, the deputy's improper hearsay testimony that the driver's license number written on the checks matched the defendant's driver's license number was harmless error given the overwhelming evidence of guilt, including all of the stolen checks having been made payable to the defendant by someone other than the employer, the defendant's endorsement appearing on all of the checks, and the defendant's image captured on a bank security camera cashing one check. Archer v. State, 291 Ga. App. 175, 661 S.E.2d 230 (2008).Other crimes evidence admissible as part of res gestae.
- In a prosecution for felony forgery, a witness's testimony that, just prior to the charged offense, the defendant had tried to induce the witness to cash forged checks and that the witness saw the defendant use an accomplice to cash forged checks, was properly admitted as res gestae evidence because the testimony showed the planning process for the forgeries in question. Chandler v. State, 311 Ga. App. 86, 714 S.E.2d 597 (2011), cert. denied, No. S11C1861, 2011 Ga. LEXIS 985 (Ga. 2011).Evidence of prior forgery conviction admissible.
- In a forgery case, the trial court properly admitted similar transaction evidence of a prior forgery conviction. The trial court admitted the similar transaction evidence to show the defendant's identity and course of conduct, which were proper purposes; furthermore, in both cases, the defendant cashed or tried to cash bogus checks issued to the defendant and endorsed by the defendant at a check-cashing location other than at the bank where the checks were purportedly drawn. Beck v. State, 291 Ga. App. 702, 662 S.E.2d 798 (2008).Offense involves dishonesty or false statement and admissible in child molestation trial.
- Defendant's prior convictions for felony forgery, O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(a), misdemeanor theft by deception, O.C.G.A. § 16-8-3(a), and misdemeanor giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, O.C.G.A. § 16-10-25, were all less than 10 years old and involved dishonesty or false statements. Therefore, those convictions were admissible in the defendant's child molestation trial under former O.C.G.A. § 24-9-84.1(b) (see now O.C.G.A. § 24-6-609). Damerow v. State, 310 Ga. App. 530, 714 S.E.2d 82 (2011).Money orders stamped "apparent counterfeit" were inadmissible hearsay.
- Trial court erred in admitting money orders stamped "apparent counterfeit" during the defendant's trial for forgery in the first degree, O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(a), because the stamped money orders constituted inadmissible hearsay; the testimony of a bank's chief financial officer indicated that the determination that the money orders were counterfeit was a conclusion or opinion made by a third party institution, whose representatives did not testify at trial and, thus, the money orders were inadmissible as a business record under former O.C.G.A. § 24-3-14(b) (see now O.C.G.A. § 24-8-803) to prove that the money orders were counterfeit. Holmes v. State, 315 Ga. App. 812, 727 S.E.2d 520 (2012).
Charge requiring showing that defendant was present at place check was uttered.
- Request that in order to establish the corpus delicti of a crime of forgery in the first degree, the evidence must show that the defendant personally committed the crime and show the presence of the defendant, ignores the fact that the defendant could be guilty as a principal to the crime and yet be nowhere near the place of the uttering of the check. Pratt v. State, 180 Ga. App. 389, 348 S.E.2d 922 (1986).Insufficient proof of uttering.
- Conviction under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1 was reversed where there was no witness from the bank who could identify defendant as having presented any of the forged checks. There was no handwriting comparison presented by an expert or lay witness; nothing to tie defendant to the presentation of these checks except that defendant regularly conducted the company's business at the bank and had, on occasion, cashed other employees' checks with their permission, signing their own name under that of the payee. Gordon v. State, 206 Ga. App. 450, 425 S.E.2d 906 (1992).Jury instructions adhered to allegations of accusation.
- Because the jury in the defendant's first degree forgery, under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1, was instructed that a person committed forgery in the first degree when that person, in part, possessed any writing made in the name of another, this instruction did not cause the defendant to be convicted of forgery in a manner not charged in the accusation. Farmer v. State, 276 Ga. App. 443, 623 S.E.2d 545 (2005)."Mistake of fact" instruction not warranted.
- In a prosecution for first degree forgery, O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1, if the defendant was truly mistaken regarding the authenticity of counterfeit checks, the defendant's own negligence in failing to question the person who furnished the checks or to examine the security features of the checks caused the mistake. Therefore, due to the defendant's own negligence, the trial court was not obliged to give the defendant's tendered "mistake of fact" instruction. Taylor v. State, 293 Ga. App. 551, 667 S.E.2d 405 (2008)."Willful blindness" instruction proper.
- In a prosecution for first degree forgery, O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1, the jury was properly instructed on "willful blindness" because while the defendant testified to not knowing that the checks the defendant tried to cash were counterfeit, the defendant failed to inspect the checks, which would have revealed that the checks were fake, and did not ask why the person who sent the checks to the defendant to cash could not have cashed the checks. Taylor v. State, 293 Ga. App. 551, 667 S.E.2d 405 (2008).
OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
- Misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(e) are offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted. 2012 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 12-6.
Am. Jur. 2d.
- 36 Am. Jur. 2d, Forgery, § 1 et seq.C.J.S.
- 37 C.J.S., Forgery, § 1 et seq.ALR.
- Genuine making of instrument for purpose of defrauding as constituting forgery, 51 A.L.R. 568.
Liability for leaving contract forms accessible to stranger who, by forgery, gives such forms apparent authenticity as completed contracts, 85 A.L.R. 83.
Filling in terms other than authorized in paper executed with blanks, as forgery, 87 A.L.R. 1169.
Alteration of written instrument in order to conform to actual intention as forgery, 93 A.L.R. 864.
Alteration or counterfeiting of postage stamps as criminal offense, 127 A.L.R. 1469.
Presumptions and inferences in criminal cases from unexplained possession or uttering of forged paper, 164 A.L.R. 621.
Invalid instrument as subject of forgery, 174 A.L.R. 1300.
Alteration of figures indicating amount of check, bill, or note, without change in written words, as forgery, 64 A.L.R.2d 1029.
Propriety of jury, or court sitting as trier of facts, making a comparison of a disputed writing with a standard produced in court, without the aid of an expert witness, 80 A.L.R.2d 272.
Signing credit charge or credit sales slip, as forgery, 90 A.L.R.2d 822.
Criminal prosecution or disciplinary action against medical practitioner for fraud in connection with claims under medicaid, medicare, or similar welfare program for providing medical service, 50 A.L.R.3d 549.
Falsifying of money order as forgery, 65 A.L.R.3d 1307.
Filing of false insurance claims for medical services as ground for disciplinary action against dentist, physician, or other medical practitioner, 70 A.L.R.4th 132.
What constitutes a public record or document within statute making falsification, forgery, mutilation, removal, or other misuse thereof an offense, 75 A.L.R.4th 1067.
Evidence of intent to defraud in state forgery prosecution, 108 A.L.R.5th 593.
Signing credit charge, credit sales slip, or credit electronic point of sale terminal, as forgery, 80 A.L.R.6th 599.