Presenting a False Instrument for Filing is covered under New York PL 175.30 or New York PL 175.35, and criminal defense attorneys in New York who practice this law are aware that unskilled counsel and those accused of this crime may conflate these violations with falsifying business records. Despite the fact that both offenses are comparable and can result in “A” misdemeanor or “E” felony punishment, there are important distinctions between the two. The fact that Providing a Fake Instrument for Filing involves documents filed with a public office is one of these distinctions that stands out the most.
For instance, while filing a phony timesheet as part of your fraud-related activity with your accounting company or law firm may be considered falsifying business records, if your employer is the City of New York or another public agency, the offense is likely Providing a False Instrument for Filing. It should be obvious that more evidence than what has been presented in this brief hypothetical would be required to support a conviction. Regardless of the other components, it should be obvious that Providing a Fake Instrument for Filing would not be a proper accusation if the entity in question is not a public one.
Providing a Fake Instrument for Filing typically involves other claims of illegal behavior, so your criminal attorney may need to handle other crimes that are worse or more severe during an investigation, arrest, or indictment. Some of these crimes include:
- Grand Larceny (NY PL 155.30 through NY PL 155.42)
- Enterprise Corruption (NY PL 460.20)
- Forgery (NY PL 170.05, 170.10 & NY PL 170.15)
This list is by no means exhaustive, but each of the offenses has a larger possibility for punishment and incarceration than offering a false instrument for filing.
William Donnino, the commentator in the annotated code, has made the following points to provide more information on the offense of Providing a Fake Instrument for Filing:
A person who “offers or presents” a “written instrument” [defined in 175.00(3)] to a “public office” or “public servant” [defined in 10.00(15)] with the “knowledge or belief” that it will become a part of that public office’s records” [175.30] is guilty of the basic crime of “offering a false instrument for filing.”
“Notably, the crime only applies to written documents that have false recitals as opposed to forged documents; the document only needs to be offered or presented to the public office or servant, not accepted or received; and the defendant only needs to have a subjective belief, rather than actual knowledge, that the document will end up in 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.”
It is essential to get in touch with a lawyer for assistance if you or someone you know is the subject of an inquiry into offering a false instrument for filing or a bigger fraud scheme.