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Falsifying Business Records: NY PL 175.10 and 175.15

While not as commonly prosecuted as Forgery, Grand Larceny or Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, Falsifying Business Records in the First and Second Degrees, New York Penal Law sections 175.10 and 175.05 respectively, are extremely serious offenses. In fact, New York White Collar defense attorneys experienced in representing clients in Falsifying Business Record arrests and indictments can explain how easy it is for a savvy prosecutor to bump up a less serious crime into a felony case or find an otherwise insignificant act and develop a viable misdemeanor case.

Falsifying Business Records: Definition and Elements

The legal language establishing the degrees of Falsifying Business Records have specifically defined elements and terms that not merely may but will have an impact on your case. Two of these words, "enterprise" and "business record," for example, have specific meanings that you must discuss with your counsel. Simply, if you delete, alter or make a false entry in the business records of an enterprise and you do so with the intent to defraud, you have run afoul of the misdemeanor crime. If when you do so, you also have the intent to further or conceal another criminal offense, then you have committed the felony crime.

Equally important to your understanding of the elements, there is an affirmative defense codified in the New York Penal Law. If you are an employee acting by order of a supervisor and you are obtaining no benefit to alter the records in question, then you have not committed this crime. Because of your potential exposure to a felony or misdemeanor conviction based on what may be fairly insignificant conduct, it is critical to challenge not merely the basis and probable cause of your arrest, legal foundation of a search by the police, and statement you may have made, but every element of these crimes. At bottom, you cannot leave any proverbial stone unturned.

Falsifying Business Records: Penalties and Punishment

Like every other statute found in the Penal Law, the criminal consequences and penalties of a conviction for either PL 175.05 or PL 175.10 is significant ranging from probation and community service to fines and incarceration. A conviction for the misdemeanor crime is punishable by as long as one year in jail while the class "E" felony offense has a potential penalty of up to four years in prison.

Falsifying Business Records: Examples

Maybe you entered information incorrectly into a database at work. You deleted or changed some old documents related to accounts receivable. Even if it seemed somewhat insignificant in the scheme of your employment, you changed some numbers around on bills or receipts. Yes, you knew, or should have known, it was wrong, but you were going to rectify it as soon as you were able. Simply, you fell on hard times or had a momentary lapse of judgement. Before you could fix those errors, however, you found yourself in your employer's office in Midtown Manhattan not merely facing termination, but the threat of an arrest by the NYPD and prosecution by the District Attorney's Office. Whether you are arrested as soon as you are accused or you are the target of an open investigation by law enforcement, you should expect that if your employer, the police, a District Attorney or the Attorney General believe and can establish you had the intent to defraud, then an arrest may be only moments away.

Your Criminal Case: Your Criminal Defense

As New York white collar criminal defense lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors who managed, investigated and prosecuted significant White Collar schemes, the partners at Saland Law understand the gravity of these allegations and have the hands on experience to mount the strongest defense.

For extensive information on New York White Collar crimes including Falsifying Business Records and each of the offenses addressed above, please review the New York White Collar Crime section of Saland Law'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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