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Ohio man charged with felony forgery

Franklin County prosecutors have charged a former Ohio House page with a felony and a misdemeanor after he allegedly forged a latter written in the name of a state representative sent during a recent campaign for House speaker. The page is accused of using a Republican state representative's letterhead to send a note to one of the two candidates who were vying for the office. The candidate who received the note lost in the primary race.

According to authorities, the defendant wrote the letter because of an "internal squabble" among House staffers. He apparently did not intend to influence the House speaker's election. He passed a lie detector test stating that no one else was involved in the forgery. Authorities said they do not believe there was a conspiracy in the case.

The defendant, who resigned from his page position in the Ohio House last fall, has been charged with fifth-degree felony forgery and first-degree misdemeanor attempted identity theft. He is scheduled for arraignment in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on April 1.

Anyone charged with white collar crimes, such as fraud or forgery, can face harsh consequences in the event of conviction, including significant jail time, probation and fines. However, a defendant may be able to help their situation by retaining the services of a criminal defense attorney. After reviewing the evidence, legal counsel could advise whether it is best to plead innocent and go to trial or to work with prosecutors to arrange a plea deal. If there is substantial evidence against the defendant, it may be better to negotiate with prosecutors for a plea bargain that reduces the most serious charges in exchange for a guilty plea.

Source: Cleveland.com, "Former Ohio House page faces felony charges tied to forged letter in speaker's race," Jeremy Pelzer, March 20, 2015

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