Offering a False Instrument for Filing and Falsifying Business Records are two potential felony crimes in New York that are almost identical. While “almost” certainly is not “exactly,” one guards against the fraudulent filing of documents within the government and state while the other generally the falsification, deletion or alteration of the business records of a private enterprises. While both crimes involve an intent to defraud, one of the elements that stands out in crimes involving Offering a False Instrument for Filing in both the First and Second Degrees is that the filing of a “written instrument” must take place. What is a “written instrument” you ask? Your New York criminal lawyer or New York criminal defense attorney should be able to answer what a “written instrument” is in the context of New York Penal Law 175.35 (First Degree Offering a False Instrument for Filing) or New York Penal Law 175.30 (Second Degree Offering a False Instrument for Filing), but if not, there is always People v. Headley, NYLJ 1202571734975 (Kings Sup. Ct., Decided September 6, 2012) to provide some guidance.
In Headley, the defendant used a fictitious name to fraudulently obtain paid assignments of independent medical examinations of plaintiffs who sued New York City Transit Authority (“NYCTA”). In using the fictitious name, the defendant “conceal[ed] the fact that the assignments were being awarded to” his company (“Advance”)- someone who also represented NYCTA in defending personal injury lawsuits. As this was a conflict of interest, this would have “disqualified him from being paid to procure medical examinations.” The defendant was charged, amongst other things, with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (NY PL 175.35). Upon the defendant’s motion to reargue, the Court upheld the charge.