New York Consolidated Laws, Penal Law - PEN § 170.00 Forgery;  definitions of terms

1. “Written instrument” means any instrument or article, including computer data or a computer program, containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying or recording information, or constituting a symbol or evidence of value, right, privilege or identification, which is capable of being used to the advantage or disadvantage of some person.

2. “Complete written instrument” means one which purports to be a genuine written instrument fully drawn with respect to every essential feature thereof.  An endorsement, attestation, acknowledgment or other similar signature or statement is deemed both a complete written instrument in itself and a part of the main instrument in which it is contained or to which it attaches.

3. “Incomplete written instrument” means one which contains some matter by way of content or authentication but which requires additional matter in order to render it a complete written instrument.

4. “Falsely make.”  A person “falsely makes” a written instrument when he makes or draws a complete written instrument in its entirety, or an incomplete written instrument, which purports to be an authentic creation of its ostensible maker or drawer, but which is not such either because the ostensible maker or drawer is fictitious or because, if real, he did not authorize the making or drawing thereof.

5. “Falsely complete.”  A person “falsely completes” a written instrument when, by adding, inserting or changing matter, he transforms an incomplete written instrument into a complete one, without the authority of anyone entitled to grant it, so that such complete instrument appears or purports to be in all respects an authentic creation of or fully authorized by its ostensible maker or drawer.

6. “Falsely alter.”  A person “falsely alters” a written instrument when, without the authority of anyone entitled to grant it, he changes a written instrument, whether it be in complete or incomplete form, by means of erasure, obliteration, deletion, insertion of new matter, transposition of matter, or in any other manner, so that such instrument in its thus altered form appears or purports to be in all respects an authentic creation of or fully authorized by its ostensible maker or drawer.

7. “Forged instrument” means a written instrument which has been falsely made, completed or altered.

8. “Electronic access device” means a mobile identification number or electronic serial number that can be used to obtain telephone service.


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