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Spousal Signature Forgery
Answer by John Burnett, BOL Guru
Guru Bios

Question:  A check came across our non-post, and upon review it was revealed that the wife of the account holder had forged his signature and wrote the check to pay a bill. This appears to be a regular occurrence. The wife is not on the checking account. Does this constitute fraud or violate any other rules or regulations?

Answer:  There's not a black and white answer to this question. If the wife has been signing her husband's name to his checks for a long time, and he hasn't raised a fuss, he may have ratified her actions. If he benefited from the payments his wife made from his account, he can't press a forgery or fraud case very far, either. Even if the wife was paying one of her own obligations without her husband's permission to sign his name, the "repeat wrongdoer" rule in 4-406 of the UCC would limit the bank's exposure.

First published on 3/01/10

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