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Fraud/Forgery

In 2017, the Insurance Information Institute (III) released a report revealing that 1.1 million people filed fraud-related complaints in the U.S. They also reported that consumers lost $905 million dollars due to fraudulent schemes. This high rate of fraud or forgery related crimes have caused law enforcement to be on high alert.

A conviction for a fraud or forgery offense can result in serious consequences. Depending on the circumstances, you could be facing serious jail or prison time. Not only this, but you may be required to pay restitution costs to the victims. If you or someone you know has been charged with fraud or forgery, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney for Fraud or Forgery Crimes in Travis County, Texas

The penalties associated with fraud or forgery offenses have the potential to uproot your life. You may face up to felony charges which includes incarceration. The court could also order you to pay restitution costs to the victim. Don’t enter a plea or speak to law enforcement without the counsel of Kevin Bennett.

Attorney Kevin Bennett has years of experience in criminal defense. He can collect evidence, file motions, and do whatever possible to help your case. Find a legal partner through this complicated process. Contact Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 for a free consultation.

Kevin Bennett represents people throughout the greater Travis County area including Rollingwood, Austin, Pflugerville, Manor and West Lake Hills.


Overview of Fraud/Forgery Offenses in Texas


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Forgery Under Texas Law

Forging an official document with the intent to defraud is a serious crime under Texas law. Some examples of forgery include forging a check or an official certification. Texas Penal Code § 32.21 defines forgery as:

  • When you alter, create, or authenticate any writing and:
    • The document wasn’t authorized by the appropriate person;
    • The document says it was executed at a certain time or place or in numbered sequence when in fact that isn’t the case; or
    • The document is a “copy” of an original for a document that doesn’t exist.
  • When you issue, pass, register the transfer of, transfer or publish a forged writing; OR
  • Possess writing that is forged with the intent to issue, register the transfer of, transfer, pass or publish said forged writing.

The term writing is defined under Texas Penal Code § 32.21 as any:

  • Printing or other methods of recording information;
  • Credit cards, trademarks, badges, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, and money; OR

  • Symbols of identification, privilege, value or right.

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Penalties for Forgery in Travis County, Texas

A forgery conviction can land you in some hot water. Texas law states that forgery is a state jail felony if the writing is or purports to be one of the following:

  • Security agreement;
  • Credit card;
  • Check;
  • Mortgage;
  • Deed;
  • Deed of trust;
  • Will;
  • Codicil;
  • Contract;
  • Release; or
  • Authorization to debit an account.

A state jail felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 24 months in state jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

Forgery is a third-degree felony if the writing is or purports to be:

  • Postage or revenue stamps;
  • Issue of money or securities;
  • Government records;
  • Issue or stock, bonds or other documents representing interests; or
  • Documents issued by a state or national government.

A third-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

Texas Penal Code § 37.01 defines “government records” as any:

  • Writing that belongs to, received by or kept by the government;
  • Any writing that is required to be kept by others for governmental purposes;
  • Licenses, corticates, permits, letter of patents, seals, titles, similar document that was issued by the state or federal government;
  • Proof of motor vehicle liability insurance;
  • Official ballots or election records; and
  • Documentation required to run a mobile food unit.

All other forgery penalties are determined by how much money or goods were stolen. If the value of the goods stolen is less than $100, then the offense is a class C misdemeanor. A class C misdemeanor can result in a fine up to $500. If the forgery resulted in $100 or more, but less than $750, it’s a class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by:

  • Up to 180 days in county jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $2,000.

Your forgery offense can result in a class A misdemeanor if the value of the goods stolen is at $750 or more, but less than $2,500. The penalty for a class A misdemeanor includes:

  • Up to 12 months in county jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $4,000.

A forgery crime is a state jail felony if the goods obtained were $2,500 or more, but less than $30,000. If convicted of a state jail felony, you may face:

  • Up to 24 months in state jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

Forgery is a third-degree felony if the money or goods obtained were at $30,000, but less than $150,000. A third-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

A forgery offense is charged as a second-degree felony if the money obtained was at $150,000 or more, but less than $300,000. A second-degree felony conviction can result in:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

If your forgery offense results in $300,000 or more, then the crime is a first-degree felony. The penalties for a first-degree felony include:

  • Minimum prison sentence of 5 years;
  • Maximum prison sentence of 99 years or life in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

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Penalties for Fraud in Texas

If you think fraud is a singular crime, you would be mistaken. Fraud is an umbrella term for a multitude of offenses. You can commit fraud by issuing a bad check, stealing another’s identifying information and other related offenses.

Below are the penalties for some fraudulent offenses in Texas.

Identity Theft in Texas

Stealing and using another’s identifying information is a crime. Identifying information can include your name, date of birth, address, social security number and other important information. You can be charged with identity theft if you use or possess:

  • Another person’s identifying information;
  • A deceased person’s identifying information; or
  • Identifying information of a minor.

The penalties for identity theft depend on the number of items that you obtained from using another person’s identity. Identity theft is a state jail felony if the items used or possessed were less than five. A state jail felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 24 months in state jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

Identity theft is a third-degree felony if the items possessed or used from the crime were less than 10. Third-degree felonies are punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison;
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

The crime turns into a second-degree felony if you use or possess more than 10 items, but less than 50. The penalties for a second-degree felony include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

Your offense will be classified as a first-degree felony if the number of items stolen were at 50 or more. A first-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Minimum of 5 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

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Issuing a Bad Check or Similar Sight Order

It’s illegal to issue a bad check or similar sight order that promises an upcoming payment. Texas Penal Code § 32.41 states you’re issuing a bad check if:

  • You knew that you didn’t have a bank account with that financial institution; OR

  • The payment was refused because of lack of funds or insufficient funds within 30 days after you issued the check. You must also have failed to repay the holder in full within 10 days of receiving notice that the payment was refused.

Issuing a bad check or similar sight order is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine. If the payment was for a child support payment, then the offense is a class B misdemeanor that can result in:

  • Up to 180 days in county jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $2,000.

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Additional Resources

Texas Fraud/Forgery Laws – Visit the official website for Texas Penal Code and access the fraud and forgery statutes. Access the laws to learn more about penalties, enhancements, and other related offenses under Texas law.

Identity Theft and Fraud – Visit a document provided by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about identity theft and fraud. Learn more about identity theft, how it can damage your credit and how to monitor your credit for any fraudulent activity.


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Lawyer for Fraud and Forgery in Austin, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with a fraud or forgery, then it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Find that attorney today with Kevin Bennett. Kevin Bennett is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has represented numerous people accused of fraud or forgery.

Don’t wait another moment in uncertainty. Call Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free consultation. He can do a case evaluation to discover the best legal option for your case.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Austin area including Lago Vista, West Lake Hills, Pflugerville, and Rollingwood.


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