A document is any object that contains a record, sign or image that is appropriate or intended to serve as evidence of a fact of legal value. We distinguish between a public document and a private document. A public document is one issued by a state body, while private documents are issued by natural or legal persons. In addition to the above documents, there are also electronic documents regulated by the Electronic Document Act.
In practice, the crime of forgery of a document is, usually, combined with another crime, the accomplishment of which is aided by a forged document. For example, in a commercial business, bookkeeping documents are falsified to avoid tax and customs obligations, in a credit business, salary receipts are falsified for the purpose of obtaining loans and similar.
The criminal offence of forgery of documents may be committed by any person who produces a false document or modifies the document and uses it as a right, that is, who deceives another person about the content of the document in order to get him sign that document as a right one. Such treatment is punishable by up to three years in prison.
The law also prescribes the qualified form of criminal offence of forgery of documents, in the case of forgery of documents having special evidentiary power, and therefore this more serious form of criminal offense of forgery of documents is punished more severely. Documents for which the law provides for heavier punishment are public documents, wills, promissory notes, bills of exchange, check, payment card or public books which must be kept under the law. The sentence in this case ranges from six months to five years in prison.
The law stipulates that even attempting to forge a document is punishable.
This offence is manifested in the introduction of false information or omission of important information from an official or business document and authentication by official seal or signature, even if it is not initially used as true one in business or service.
Forging an official document can only be committed by an official person, while forging a business document can only be committed by a responsible person in a legal person. Considering that criminal offence was committed in the course of carrying out entrusted tasks and duties, this is more sharply qualified and punished than the “ordinary” forgery of a document, and the perpetrators of this criminal offence will be punished by imprisonment for a term between six months and five years.
Official persons are officials, judges, civil servants, notaries public and other persons who are expressly entrusted with carrying out tasks in the field of activity of state bodies or bodies of local and regional self-government units.
Responsible persons are persons who run the affairs of a legal person, i.e. directors, procurators and the like. Considering that criminal activity is often encountered in commercial business, it should be emphasized, in relation to the qualification of the responsible person in the legal entity, that legal practice does not look strictly formally on whether the person is registered as a responsible person in the register of the commercial court, but whether it performs substantially the activities that enter within the scope of the responsible person in the legal person.
The availability of public and private documents online facilitates business operations for legal and natural persons as they can access faster to the official data of public and state institutions electronically. Due to inefficient protection of electronic data in legal transactions, computer counterfeiting of documents is frequent.
The Criminal Code stipulates that a perpetrator who illegally creates, inserts, alters, deletes or renders unusable computer data of value for legal relations, with the intention of using that information as credible, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years. In this case too, the attempt to forge is punishable.