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Offering a False Instrument for Filing

While your "average" white collar crime case may not include the offenses of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 175.35) and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 175.30), the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law still believe it is important for those accused of these crimes to have a grasp on these sections of the New York Penal Law.

New York Criminal lawyers versed in Offering a False Instrument for Filing, whether it is New York PL 175.30 or New York PL 175.35, understand that inexperienced attorneys and those accused of this crime may confuse these offenses with Falsifying Business Records. While both crimes are similar and punishable as either "A" misdemeanors or "E" felonies, there are significant differences between the two. One of the most notable of these differences is that Offering a False Instrument for Filing involves written instruments filed with a public office. For example, while your fraud related conduct of filing a false timesheet with your accounting firm or law firm may be Falsifying Business Records, if you do the same and your employer is the City of New York or a public agency, then the crime would likely be Offering a False Instrument for Filing. It should go without saying that more evidence would be necessary to sustain a conviction than what has been provided in this short hypothetical. However, it should be clear that regardless of the other elements, if the entity involved is not public, then Offering a False Instrument for Filing would not be an appropriate charge.

Because Offering a False Instrument for Filing usually involves other allegations of criminal conduct, there may be greater or more significant crimes that your criminal attorney need to address in an investigation, arrest or indictment. Some of these crimes include:

By no means a complete list, each of the crimes are equal to or significantly greater in terms of potential punishment and incarceration than Offering a False Instrument for Filing.

To shed further light on the crime of Offering a False Instrument for Filing, William Donnino, the commentator in the annotated code, has stated:

"The basic crime of 'offering a false instrument for filing' is directed at the person who, knowing that a 'written instrument' [defined in 175.00(3)] has false recitals, 'offers or presents' the instrument to a 'public office' or 'public servant' [defined in 10.00(15)] with the 'knowledge or belief' that it will become part of the records of that public office or servant [175.30]."

"Notably, the crime is limited to written instruments which contain false recitals as opposed to forged instruments; the instrument need only be offered or presented, not accepted or received, by the public office or servant; and the defendant need only have a subjective belief, not actual knowledge, that the instrument will become part of the records of the public office or servant."

Donnino further states that:

"The crime of offering a false instrument for filing is divided into two degrees. The basic crime is offering a false instrument in the second degree [175.30] and that crime is predicated on 'knowing' that the written instrument offered for filing contains a false statement or false information. If that basic crime is also committed 'with an intent to defraud' the State or any political subdivision, public authority or public benefit corporation of the State, then the defendant is guilty of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree [175.35]. (The first-degree statute was amended in 1998 to overrule People v. Miller, 1987, 70 N.Y.2d 903, 524 N.Y.S.2d 386, 519 N.E.2d 297 by making the crime applicable to filings with a public authority or public benefit corporation. L. 1998, c. 99.)"

"By that two-degree structure, the drafters sought to distinguish the level of culpability between, for example, the person who, out of vanity, knowingly falsifies his or her age in an application for a license in which the age of the applicant is not significant, and one who corruptly defrauds the State out of huge sums through false documents submitted in connection with a building contract. See Staff Notes of the Commission on Revision of the Penal Law. Proposed New York Penal Law. McKinney's Spec. Pamph. (1964), p. 366."

Whether you or someone you know is the target of an investigation involving Offering a False Instrument for Filing or a greater fraud scheme, contact one of the former Manhattan prosecutors and New York criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law. It is more than merely your liberty that may be at stake.

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

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