In a broad sense, forgery implies the forgery of things, statistical data of documents, and so on. The concept of “official forgery” is used only in relation to official documents that have been unlawfully altered/distorted by an official.
For your information! In companies, forgery can be committed by managers (directors), deputy managers, financial directors and accountants.
ForensicPro specialists are ready to offer qualified assistance, both in identifying and collecting evidence of forgery, and in the legal protection of a person who is suspected of such an offense. We use extensive experience in conducting financial investigations (Forensic) in companies and identifying facts of manipulation of financial statements, as well as the practice of protecting clients in criminal cases related to the performance of official duties.
When the question of an official forgery is raised, the following must be present:
- official document;
- the official who compiled/issued/certified/changed it.
An official document is a document that is fixed on a tangible medium and certifies facts that entail legal consequences.
Examples of official documents regarding which official forgery can be committed:
- any primary documentation;
- financial and tax reporting;
- contracts with contractors;
- personnel documentation (employment books, employment orders, employment contracts, time sheets, work books);
- documentation for granting a loan;
- applications for licenses/permits;
- tax invoices and adjustment calculations.
An official is a person holding a position that is associated with organizational and administrative functions (management of a workforce, work site, division) or with administrative and economic activities (disposition of company property).
Liability for official forgery under Article 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine
Several acts related to official documents fall under the signs of official forgery:
Drawing up false documents
Issuance of a document with false or distorted information subject to the requirements for form and details. An example is on letterhead, with a genuine seal and signature.
Changing the content/details of a document
Making corrections to the document by mechanically removing (erasing / washing / wiping) the text and further making false entries.
Issuance of false documents
Provision / sending / transfer of documents with false or distorted information to individuals and legal entities for further use.
Entering false information into a document
Submission of information in the document that is completely or partially untrue, subject to the requirements for form and details.
Important! To hold a person accountable under Article 366 of the Criminal Code (CC) of Ukraine, the following factors are taken into account:
- assignment of the suspect to the category of officials (according to the above criteria);
- direct intent: the person initially knew that the information entered into the document was false, and the release of such a document would entail certain consequences;
- selfish or other personal interest;
- active actions: in case of failure to enter certain information into the document, such responsibility is no longer provided.
For your information! The fact that there are no consequences of the violation or a reference to the order of the head does not relieve the prosecution under Article 366 of the Criminal Code. Official forgery – a crime with a formal composition (it is considered completed from the moment the corresponding action is committed). Also, the subordinate is obliged to refuse the knowingly unlawful order of the head.
Article 366 of the Criminal Code may provide for the following sanctions:
- a fine of 2000 – 4000 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens (NTM) or 250 – 750 NMDG as an additional sanction;
- restriction of freedom – up to 3 years;
- imprisonment – up to 5 years;
- deprivation of the right to hold certain positions / engage in certain activities – up to 3 years.
For your information! Part 2 of Article 366 of the Criminal Code refers to the occurrence of grave consequences within the meaning of Article 364 of the Criminal Code. We are talking about consequences that exceed 250 or more times NMDH.
What to do if you are accused of forgery
Since the suspect is at risk of serious sanctions, you should contact a lawyer who already has successful experience in such cases.
As part of the development of a defense strategy, a lawyer carries out the following actions:
- documents are studied on the basis of which the client is considered the subject of an offense under Article 366 of the Criminal Code (first of all, an appointment order, an employment contract / contract, job description are analyzed);
Important! If the suspect does not belong to the category of officials, then he cannot be charged with Article 366 of the Criminal Code.
- a petition is filed to close the case if evidence is collected that the person is not the subject of an offense under Article 366 of the Criminal Code;
- the document itself, which is considered the subject of a crime, is examined (important points in this case: is the document really official, what exactly is the forgery);
- the opportunity is used to prove the absence of direct intent when committing a violation (to prove the unintentional nature of the actions of the suspect, documents, testimonies of persons, and so on are collected);
- representation of the interests of the client in court is carried out in order to justify or maximally mitigate the punishment.
We will discuss the details of your case during the consultation! Contact ForensicPro for qualified legal assistance!