Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree

As noted on the main section of Falsifying Business Records, a District Attorney – whether Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens, Westchester, Rockland or anywhere else – can elevate nominal misdemeanor conduct to an arrest for or allegation of New York Penal Law 175.10. A class “E” felony punishable by up to four years in state prison, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree occurs when you commit any of the four Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree subsections and an Assistant District Attorney can prove beyond a reasonable doubt additional elements. Coupling to the crime of New York Penal Law 175.05, prosecutors must establish that your intent to defraud involved further criminal intent to either hide the commission of another crime or to assist in the commission of that other crime. Because of this additional crime requirement, it is routine practice for prosecutors to charge additional, and potentially more serious offenses alongside a First Degree Falsifying Business Records case at the time of arrest or when the matter is presented to a Grand Jury. Although you should discuss the spectrum of felony and misdemeanor crimes you may face with your criminal defense attorney, these charges often include Grand Larceny, Forgery and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument.

Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree: A Hypothetical Illustration

An example of felony Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, PL 175.10, is as follows:

You alter excel spreadsheet records of your employer’s business. This spread sheet may include items received, services rendered or accounts payable. Whatever information is contained on these spreadsheets, there is no dispute that the employers uses these materials on a regular basis as a part of their business process. While the mere alteration by itself may not rise to a felony crime in New York, your employer claims, and prosecutors accuse, that you altered these records to cover up the theft of $750. Now, what would have only been “only” a Petit Larceny of $750, and likely a slap on the wrist if your record is otherwise clean, is now an “E” felony of First Degree Falsifying Business Records punishable by as long as four years in a New York State prison.

As briefly noted on the main page of Falsifying Business Records, it is an affirmative defense, pursuant to New York Penal Law 175.15, if the falsification was made by an employee without personal gain at the behest of a supervisor. While this defense is an affirmative defense codified by statute, it is not the only defense likely or potentially available to you that you should pursue and examine with your criminal defense lawyer.

As New York White Collar criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors who handled every phase of White Collar prosecutions from investigation and Grand Jury presentations to hearings and trials, criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC recognize not only the significance of a Falsifying Business Records allegations and arrest for related criminal conduct, but their knowledge, experience and advocacy is your best defense to a judge, jury and District Attorney.

For both easily readable and informative material on New York white collar crimes, including Falsifying Business Records Grand Larceny and related offenses, please review the New York White Collar Crime section of Crotty Saland PC’s website. Additional information, including legal decisions, criminal statutes and cases in the news, can be found on the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog.

Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today to discuss your case and possible defenses.

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