Sam is a lawyer asking you for information and answering your questions.
Glad to hear that Sam is a lawyer. So far I’ve called attention to:
a certificate “signed” by of one of the world’s most famous karate masters and purporting to be issued in the name of the All Japan Karate Do Goju Kai,
a certificate “signed” by Nakahara Nobuyuki and Sugiura Motokuni, and purporting to be issued in the name of the Japan Karate Association,
a certificate “signed” by a prominent teacher of Shito Ryu karate purportedly conferring a dan rank in Goju Ryu.
All these certificates are being sold as blanks by someone who will write on them whatever name, date and rank you like. I don't know what State he's operating out of; that information isn't on his website.
I'm not a lawyer, but I can't believe that it's OK to do this! If it's not illegal, it's as sure as hell unethical.
What do you say, Sam?
Last edited by HenryT; 6/10/2011 10:25am at .
Sam, state information:
Fit to Print Store
236 HIDEAWAY LN
SPRINGVILLE, AL 35146
Okay he did answer your questions. He has said it is illegal and gave you a specific example as to why it is illegal. He gave you the specific criteria as to how it is illegal. Unethical does not always equal illegal. You can do something unethical and the law can;t touch you.
You need to get a specific instance where it happened.
You need to get the state where it occurred.
You need to see if anyone used this in a fraudulent manner.
This purports to be a teaching license awarded by Yamaguchi Gogen to someone called William R. Leeson. Possibly it’s a genuine certificate that Roger will alter to your specification.
This is signed by Oyama Masutatsu and awarded to James Goodman, but you can have any name or rank you like:
This is a certificate signed by Katsuya Miyahira with the original name and date inexpertly blanked out:
And here’s one signed by Eizo Shimabukuro:
All these are explicitly offered for sale on the understanding that “your name and rank will be professionally inscribed per your request.” They are apparently genuine certificates that have been doctored and will be sold with named different from the original names inserted: i..e. forgeries.
The Modern Penal Code (MPC sec. 224.1) states that a person is guilty of forgery if:
a) a actor or person alters any writing of any person,
b) makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues, or transfers any writing so that it purports to be an act of another who did not authorize the act or to have been at the time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or to be a copy of an original when no such original existed; or
c) utters any writing which he knows to be forged.
"Forgery is a crime when it includes the representation of handwriting of another and the act of uttering as true and genuine any forged writing knowing the same to be forged with intent to prejudice, damage, and defraud any person."
State v. May 93 Idaho 343, 461 P. 2d 126, 129.
"Crime of forgery is committed when one makes or passes a false instrument with the intent to defraud, and the element of loss or detriment is immaterial."
People v. McAffey, 182 Cal. App.2d 486, 6 Cal. Rptr. 333,337
"The false making of an instrument, which purports on the face of it to be good and valid for purposes for which it was created, with design to defraud any person or persons."
State v. Goranson, 67 Wash.2d 456, 408 P.2d 7,9.
Okay, why don't you cite Alabama law, rather then the Model Penal Code, since the store is located in Alabama. The Model Penal Code is a suggested set of laws which some states have used when revising their own laws. Its also used to torture law students.
Code of Alabama
Section 13A-9-4 - Forgery in the third degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of forgery in the third degree if, with intent to defraud, he falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument.
(b) Forgery in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
Section 13A-9-7 - Criminal possession of forged instrument in the third degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree if he possesses or utters a forged instrument of a kind covered in Section 13A-9-4 with knowledge that it is forged and with intent to defraud.
(b) Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
Is not altering a document from its original purpose and offering it for sale with whatever new name and rank the customer wants evidence of intent to defraud – i.e. to defraud the original signatory? I guess Sam will be able to give an opinion.
Last edited by HenryT; 6/10/2011 7:15pm at .
Assuming that this is illegal under Alabama law:
Would the victim in this case the instructors whose names are written on those certificates?
Would they have recourse to have the certificates removed and/or seek damages?
I guess what I'm asking is should the instructors (or family/corporate entity if they are deceased) whose names appear on the blank certificates be contacted?
Thank you Henry T.
The makers of these certificates are claiming to "replace" lost certificates, probably so they can claim that they have no "intent to defraud". Their intent would have to be shown through circumstantial evidence. i.e. that their real intent is to produce certificates that never existed rather then those which were lost. Intent can be inferred or deduced from the facts of a particular transaction or a series of transactions. The defrauded parties would most likely be the consumers who studied under a person who bought such a certificate and used it to fool students.
The other defense that the shop would offer is that they would claim the certificate is not a "written instrument" depending on Alabama caselaw, such instuments may be limited to such items as checks or other financial documents which have a monitary value. However if Alabama law considered a school transcript as a written instrument, you could probably argue that such a certificate was also a written instrument.
The term "utters" usually refers to transactions carried out with checks.
The person who possessed the intrument with knowledge that it is forged and with intent to defraud (the person who commissioned its creation) might be covered under criminal possession of a forged instrument.
So in summary, to be charged with a crime in Alabama, a written instrument needs to include certificates and not just financial instruments like checks and promissory notes.
... and I guess that filing civil suit against these people would cost more than your house is worth.
So what it comes down to is that anybody who wanted to could sell doctored and completely phoney certificates in my name and under my signature – and there’s not a damn thing I could do about it? What a strange planet we live on!
But at least we can call attention to this scam on this website.
Well you could sue and claim that they are damaging your business reputation by holding themselves out as having been licensed by you. That means the "signers" would have to care about such matters.