Is it a crime to fake a signature on sports memorabilia?

Say you have a jersey of your favorite sports star. As is, it’s worth about as much as you paid for it. But if the jersey were to contain the signature of that player, it would be worth a lot more because it’d be considered a collectible. Knowing this, would you ever consider faking the signature of the player in order to make your jersey worth more money?

If you have, then you may want to stop before you act because doing so could be considered a criminal offense and could lead to punishment on the state and/or federal level. That’s because forging a signature of sports memorabilia is considered fraud, which carries serious penalties if you are convicted of committing this white collar crime.

Forgery is defined here in Missouri as making or altering writing in a way that suggests someone else did it or that it happened at another time or in another place. If we apply Missouri law to forging a signature of a professional athlete, you would in essence be claiming that the athlete signed the memorabilia, not you. Because you did this without the authority to do so and potentially with the intent to defraud someone, you could be accused of forgery, which is considered a class D felony here in our state.

It’s worth pointing out that our state is not the only jurisdiction that considers faking a signature on sports memorabilia to be a crime. As a Forbes article once pointed out, the FBI also takes forgeries like this to be incredibly serious offenses and have prosecuted individuals for fraudulently signing memorabilia and selling it as if it were authentic. Prosecution can lead to time in prison as well as orders to pay restitution, which is why it’s considered a good idea to seek professional help from a lawyer when facing criminal charges like this.

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