What Are the Consequences for Forging a Signature?

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Consequences of forging a signature vary based on relevant federal and state laws and what documents were signed with the fake signature. In most circumstances, forgery is a felony. Courts may sentence people found guilty of forgery to pay a fine or restitution or to serve prison time.

Forging a signature is a federal offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison if the forgery is used for identity theft, immigration documents or military discharge papers. Most other cases, such as forging a signature on a check, physician’s note or other legal documents, are subject to state law. For example, Illinois considers forgery a Class 3 felony. If a person is convicted of forgery in Illinois, sentencing includes two to five years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines and additional restitution.