Photocopies for Evidence - Be Careful Document Fabrication by Photocopying
The advancement of technology in Photocopiers and Computer Software has now become a Forger's dream come true. It is very easy to use PHOTOSHOP and ADOBE to fabricate fake documents and signatures and create everything from Wills, Mortgage Documents, Quit Claims Deeds to just about anything that one can imagine. Think not? ... You better think again. The ruth is, that the Law is out of touch with reality. There are no safeguards to prevent the abuse. Originals vs Photocopies If you have ever contacted a "Forensic Document Examiner", the first thing you are most likely asked is: "Do You Have the Originals or just Copies?" The majority of times, there are no Original Documents to to be found. This especially true with "Mortgage Records", "Bank Records" and Documents that are "recorded at the County Recorder". Worst yet are "Will's" and "Quit Claim Deeds" that are in dispute from arguing relatives. What gets even worst are a Copy of a Copy of a Copy, being claimed that the document is the Original, but no Original can be found. Question to be asked is? "Where did the Photo Copy come from then?" The problem with Photocopies When there are no Original Documents, an analysis of a photocopy is limited to the features that survive the copying process. This is like looking at a Car or a Person behind a Cloudy Window. The basics are there, but the details are missing and the "Three Dimensionality" of the Original is lost. The Copy of a Copy of a Copy become very difficult to verify.
An Expert Opinion is affected by only having Photocopies to analyze
Loss of Detail - the Intricate Pen Direction
The Pen direction is a very critical factor in the analysis of of Signatures and Handwriting. Photocopies make it very difficult and sometimes impossible to follow intricate writing movements that are essential for reaching an accurate conclusion. The Direction, Pen Pressure is important because the Writing Instrument can feel us more about the condition of the Writer and the Writing Surface.
The Overall Loss of Detail "Beginning and Ending Strokes" Normal natural writing is seen by the "Tapered Beginning and Ending Strokes". The Photocopying process can eliminate these tapered strokes and make them appear as blunt or chopped off in an otherwise naturally executed signature.Blunt Ending and and Beginning Strokes are characteristics of "Signatures" produced through simulation or a tracing process.
Loss of Line Quality and Detail A Photocopy of a Genuine Document with a Genuine Signature may show a "Lumpiness" or "lack of smooth", "Clear Cut Strokes", resulting in Poor Line Quality, when in reality the Original Document may contain good line quality upon examination.
False Visual Results A Photocopy can make a document appear as containing the "Tremor of Fraud" giving the appearance of Poor Line Quality. It may make it impossible to determine the surface that it was written on, such as a Rough Surface or any kind of textured surface.
Hesitations A Hesitation is the "pause in the writing line", and generally can not be determined in a Photocopy. Hesitations are common artifacts of "forged" signatures, or it can be the habit of the writer. This significant characteristic cannot be determined with Photocopies.
Patching Patching is the careful retouching that is sometimes seen in "forged" signatures as a result of the "Forgers" perception that the simulation or the Tracing needs some mending to be Passed Off as Genuine.
Manipulations that are Fraudulent Clear Evidence of "Cut and Paste" by "Old School" Paper Cut Out and then Glued onto the Fake Document to a "Digital Cut and Paste by Computer Software onto the Questioned Document cannot always be detected, especially if the Genuine Signature was added using the Computer Software.
Tracings Traced Signature "Guidelines" can consist of "Pencil", "Carbon or Indentations", produced by a "Stylus" which correspond with an outline of the Genuine Signature cannot be conclusively established via a Photocopy. Writing Instrument An exact determination as to the writing instrument used, cannot be determined without the Original Document. Paper Paper can be dated as to its first date of availability through the use of "Watermarks". With a Photocopy there are no correct determination made on any Photocopy. Indentations "Indented Writing" can be determined and detected by an Oblique Lighting that can reveal critical information. A Photocopy will not reveal Indentations. Accuracy of Measurements Photocopies DO NOT PRECISELY reproduce the Document being Photocopied. Copies impede the reliability of tests that include measuring lines lines and spaces to determine alterations in a document.
Three Dimensional vs Two Dimensional Representations of Original Documents are "Three Dimensional". Originals disclose all of the physical and optical features of the printing processes and handwriting features. On the other hand, photocopies are high "Contrast Images" which leave out leave out all of the mid-tones present in the original images.
THE BASIC BOTTOM LINE Originals are alway the best Evidence. For an accurate result, always try to provide Originals, both Questioned Documents and Known Exemplars as soon as they become available.