The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, September 10, 2004

Forged Documents

Why is CBS Circling the Wagons?

Perhaps because someone has committed a crime.

18 USC 506 covers the forging of government agency seals (ie: components of the military)

ยง 506. Seals of departments or agencies

(a) Whoever--
(1) falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, mutilates, or alters the seal of any department or agency of the United States, or any facsimile thereof;

(2) knowingly uses, affixes, or impresses any such fraudulently made, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered seal or facsimile thereof to or upon any certificate, instrument, commission, document, or paper of any description; or

(3) with fraudulent intent, possesses, sells, offers for sale, furnishes, offers to furnish, gives away, offers to give away, transports, offers to transport, imports, or offers to import any such seal or facsimile thereof, knowing the same to have been so falsely made, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered,

shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

UPDATE: Someone at Free Republic doesn't think this is applicable because there is no official seal on the documents. I agree that there is no graphical seal, but generally consider a signature (especially when placed above a title conferred by an agency of the United States and representing an authority conferred by the agency only to that title) to be a seal. I may be wrong, but think it presents an interesting question that deserves further fleshing out.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has more on the subject of criminal violations and discusses two potential state laws

UPDATE: Prof. Volokh emails to say he doesn't think a signature is a seal. A quick search of case law on Lexis looking for "signature w/10 seal" returns 1200 cases, the first few pages of which deal with them seperatly. Not dispositive, and I'll research more fully later, but perhaps the Prof. is right again and alas, I am wrong.


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