A South Florida woman has been accused of cashing forged checks throughout the Broward County area throughout the month of March 2016. According to police officers over $25,000 worth of checks were actually cashed while approximately $7000 in checks were attempted to be negotiated. The woman accused of perpetrating the fraud is said to have given a full confession admitting to her involvement in an ongoing check fraud scheme. The fake checks were drawn on the account of a local business by the name of Superior Surfaces, a business that the accused had never worked for.
In addition to admitting tour involvement in the crime, police lineups were conducted whereby tellers involved positively identified the suspect. Thanks surveillance also shows the suspect completing the illegal transactions.
In a separate investigation, the defendant is accused of attempting to cash a check in the amount of $8625 drawn on Adelphia Automotive Services, a business for which the suspect had never worked. In that case, the teller handling the transaction became aware that the businesses checking account had been flagged for fraudulent activity. In that incident, the suspect fled the bank, leaving behind her driver’s license and the check she had attempted to negotiate which bore her thumbprint.
Criminal Defense Attorneys point out that both the companies owning the accounts fraudulently drawn on as well as the banks themselves can be considered victims in such a crime.
Florida Law on Check Fraud
831.28 Counterfeiting a payment instrument; possessing a counterfeit payment instrument; penalties.
(1) As used in this section, the term “counterfeit” means the manufacture of or arrangement to manufacture a payment instrument, as defined in s. 560.103, without the permission of the financial institution, account holder, or organization whose name, routing number, or account number appears on the payment instrument, or the manufacture of any payment instrument with a fictitious name, routing number, or account number.
(2)(a) It is unlawful to counterfeit a payment instrument with the intent to defraud a financial institution, account holder, or any other person or organization or for a person to have any counterfeit payment instrument in such person’s possession. Any person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) The printing of a payment instrument in the name of a person or entity or with the routing number or account number of a person or entity without the permission of the person or entity to manufacture or reproduce such payment instrument with such name, routing number, or account number is prima facie evidence of intent to defraud.
(3) This section does not apply to a law enforcement agency that produces or displays counterfeit payment instruments for investigative or educational purposes.
The Elements of Uttering a Forged Instrument
Under Florida Statute § 831.02, the elements of the criminal offense of Uttering a Forgery Instrument include the following:
1uttering and publishing as true a false, forged, or altered instrument;
2knowing the instrument to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeited; and
3intending to injure or defraud.
Only intent to injury or defraud is required. In other words, it is not required that the intended victim was actually defrauded, only that the forged instrument was presented. For instance, if a forged check is presented at the bank, but the bank detects the forgery and does not cash the check, the prosecutor will still argue that the crime was committed because the forged check was presented to the bank with the intention to defraud.