Throughout the history of mankind, deception, with intent to benefit, has always been a societal problem. Forgery therefore is the act of falsifying, be it orally or via documents, so as to deceive. This is treated as a crime which one can be convicted against in a court of law. Forgeries range from counterfeiting such as illegal currency printing to such as art forgeries which are aptly covered by the law. Cases of widespread forgeries have flourished since the 20th Century due to the numerous avenues through which these crimes can be committed. However, forgery has a long history. For instance, the ancient Greeks would use other names of well-known artists when signing their art forms so as to capitalize on them. Some of these acts remain on shelves of museums and galleries still undetected. This therefore raises the need for document examination as to the authenticity of any materials presented.
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This has become a fully-fledged branch of forensic arts studied at higher institutions of learning and focuses on currency, medieval paintings and documents of ownership such as title deeds. Examination not only necessitates advanced equipment but also a range of skills and equipment as experts strive to combat this crime. However, though forgeries have been viewed as entirely negative, some instances have been beneficial. In the 16th Century for instance, Albercht Durer's printmaking style was imitated whereby these printmakers signed their own prints as AD. This widely boosted the art industry (Dolice, 2003). Nevertheless, this is a crime that needs to be rooted out. An analysis as to the reasons for forgery and the demerits against forgeries has been discussed here-in while further illustrating with an example.
The reasons and causes for forgery can be analyzed into four elements: Makes, the use of false instrument(s), intention, induce and prejudice. Many people endeavor to use other people's work and represent it as their own rather than entirely conceptualize it into their own work. Makes are defined in S9(2) of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act (FCA) of the United States whereby it entails the making of a false instrument; making a false instrument out of a genuine instrument and further creating a false instrument out of a false one. The term 'instrument' is used in this case as a comprehensive term for documents, art, counterfeits or as the case may be. Therefore, a 'false instrument' is deemed so if it has been altered or made by a person rather than that who made it in terms of its form. Hence, the instrument in itself being false does not implicate the person who altered it since the alteration must be reflected in the object. The FCA is therefore vital in ensuring that people not only recognize the work of others but also come up with their own rather than copy others (Anon., 2020).
Secondly, people may forge with an intention either to present the false item as genuine or to induce others to accept the instrument as genuine by reason so as to benefit from such. Such a person, who copies a genuine instrument and accepts this instrument to perform such acts that are to his prejudice, is found to be guilty under the United States Constitution. This is since the intention as to the instrument equates to inducing someone to accept the instrument as authentic. This alludes to the next reason as to why people commit forgeries.
Forgeries entail an element of prejudice which is coupled with induction. This entails the benefits accruing from inducing the person to accept this as genuine so as to benefit be it financially or otherwise. This is hence considered as the case if it results in the temporal or permanent loss of the property of the person prejudiced upon. Further, this party may be deprived of the opportunity to earn any remuneration or greater benefits from the instrument. Further, this act of forgery may deny the original owner from any financial advantage which is accorded to the party that has committed forgery. In this case, it is vital to prove that inducement resulted in the third party accepting the false instrument as genuine, the fact that this might be a copy of the false instrument notwithstanding.
Forgery charges are allegations leveled against a person if a person is deemed to have committed a fraud such as creating, signing or altering a document so as to deceive others in order to gain legal, monetary or rights pertaining to property. Technology in the recent past has provided multiple opportunities for such fraud to occur such as via credit cards where someone gains access to another's credit card and then attempts to use it. In addition, many people have been caught submitting unemployment claims while they are in fact employed, cashing of bad checks and counterfeiting. However, the most common of them are the forgeries committed via the net which are not only hard to trace but also increasingly common among United States citizens (Anon., 2010).
The most outstanding forgery in this year was posted by the Guardian on October 17, 2010, whereby art forgeries amounting to $ 45 million have shocked the world. Most leading art works sold in various public auctions have been found to be fakes. This has resulted in mass panic given that such renowned art outlets such as Christie's of London have been implicated. Such works are of famous artists such as Max Ernst, Fernard Leger and Raoul Dufy who produced their work in the 20th Century (Alberge, 2010).
The most dazzling of them all are 4 major paintings that have been sold through Christie's. This includes La Horde by Ernst which is estimated at a value of $ 5 million which was sold to the Wurth Collection and Bateaux ... Collioure done by Andre Derain and was sold at $ 3 million. 6 other paintings have been sold by the German chain, Lempertz, each at a value of $ 4.5 million. The perpetrators created these compositions which were related to the themes of these works so as to pass them as authentic. Further, these works have been labeled with popular labels such as Flechtheim Collection and J„gers Collection so as to induce the buyer into thinking that they are original and authentic (Alberge, 2010).
This case serves to illustrate the disadvantages arising from forgery. It is evident that financial losses do not only accrue to the buyer alone but also to other key players in the industry. In this case, not only have the auction houses suffered losses but also various agents and brokers. Moreover, extra costs have been gained in the consequent investigations. Further, this serves to compromise great works done by others, thereby denying them all remuneration. Finally, forgery, such as in this case, causes alarm and panic in the industry and to the buyers, leading to a slow-down in business. Therefore, proper laws and fines have to be put in place to combat and deter such crimes.
In conclusion, allegations of forgery are very serious and are treated as such by the laws put in place in various countries. Individuals convicted of such crimes can be sentenced up to 15 years with a fine. Even if the person never committed the crime, they can still be charged with forgery as far as the criminal intent and the benefits arising from such an act can be proved to be present. In addition, all participatory or third party accomplices are deemed to have committed the crime can be indicted as having aided in abetting the criminal act. In addition, possession of tools and any equipment that can be used to counterfeit objects such as illegal documents and government seals is deemed illegal in the state of New York.
This crime is often prosecuted either at the federal level or by the state. A federal charge is when the perpetrator is deemed to have committed the crime in different states whereas a state charge is in a single state and prosecuted in a state court. However, if the case is severe and considered a national issue, this results in federal prosecution. Punishments and sentences depend not only on the gravity of the offense but also on the perpetrator's criminal history. Actions taken by a court of law as punishment are such as jail time, community service, probation, penalties and fines. Further, the party that was denied remuneration or a financial advantage is restituted whereby they are given back what was defrauded from them. Even with such measures having been put in place to detract persons from committing them, this crime has not been stamped out but it is rather on the rise.