Signature forgeries occur on documents of value: deeds, wills, checks, financial documents and contracts. Signature forgeries range from simple forgery – i.e. the forger signs the name without any idea how the signature looks; skilled forgery – i.e. the forger practices and simulates the signature; tracing – i.e. the forger traces the signature from a model; manipulation/fabrication – the signature is transferred onto another document through a cut and paste method. With the everyday use of computers and technology, digitally cutting a signature and pasting it onto another document is an easy option and occurs frequently.
Early into my private practice, I was hired to review a contract dispute involving a signature. Two consulting agreements were presented as each being genuine, although one had been amended and significantly changed the terms of the financial bonus the employee was to receive for hitting certain benchmarks that had been agreed in the contract.
The First Contract
The first contract contained the signature and printed name of the employee, dated August 21, 2006. The signature appeared naturally prepared and there was no evidence of distortion or disguise.
Statement of Work dated 8/21/06
The Second Contract
The second contract, presented by the company, was an amended Statement of Work dated a few months after the first contract. See below.
Statement of Work dated 11/1/06
Both the signatures and printed names depicted on the contracts overlaid. The arrows above show the similarities between the signatures indicative of forgery. No two genuine signatures should overlay exactly but show some degree of similarities and natural variation. When presented with the evidence, the parties were able to mediate a settlement. If you believe your signature has been forged, don’t hesitate to call for an expert opinion (312) 343-9902.