support a charge under the current forgery statute, the !
State must prove that the allegedly altered written
instrument had "legal efficacy." Here, an escrow
agent was convicted of forgery for altering a certificate of
insurance to make it appear she had enough liability
insurance to cover a transaction she had been hired to
handle. We affirm the conviction against a challenge to the
sufficiency of the evidence. The certificate of insurance had
legal efficacy both as a public record and as a foundation
for legal liability.
2014, appellant Stacy Bradshaw was a licensed escrow agent
and the owner of North Sound Escrow. By law, an escrow agent
must maintain several types of liability insurance. Bradshaw
had coverage for crime as well as for errors and omissions
through the insurance firm USI Kibble & Prentice. The
limits were $1 million per claim.
February 2014, Bradshaw was retained as the escrow agent for
the sale of commercial property for the price of
approximately $1.4 million. Umpqua Bank was the lender for
one of the parties. Umpqua asked Bradshaw for a copy of her
insurance information. Bradshaw obtained a "Certificate
of Liability Insurance" from Kibble & Prentice
showing her limits of $1 million. She gave Umpqua a copy of
the certificate that was altered to represent that Bradshaw
had coverage limits of $2 million. Umpqua noticed the
alterations and contacted both Kibble & Prentice and the
Department of Financial Institutions, the agency that
regulates escrow agents. This led to the prosecution of
Bradshaw on one count of forgery.
waived her right to a jury trial. The court convicted
Bradshaw as charged and sentenced her to 40 hours of
community service, $3,600 in financial restitution, and 6
months of community supervision. Bradshaw's appeal
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence.
is sufficient to support a conviction if, viewed in the light
most favorable to the prosecution, it permits a rational
trier of fact to find the essential elements of the crime
beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Salinas, 119
Wn.2d 192, 201, 829 P.2d 1068 (1992).
common law, forgery was the act of falsely making or
materially altering, with intent to defraud, a writing
'which, if genuine, might apparently be of efficacy or
the foundation of legal liability.'" State v.
Smith, 72 Wn. App. 237, 239, 864 P.2d 406 (1993),
quoting 4 Charles E. Torcia, Wharton's Criminal Law§
493 n.1, at 114-15 (14th ed. 1981). The forgery statute in
effect from 1909 to, 1975, former RCW 9.44
(1909), listed categories of documents that
satisfied the legal efficacy requirement, such as money,
public records, and court records. State v. Scoby,
117 Wn.2d 55, 59, 810 P.2d 1358, 815 P.2d 1362 (1991).
Legislation revising the forgery statute in 1975 (removed the
particularized list of categories of items susceptible to
forgery. The current forgery statute simply prohibits the
forgery of a "written instrument."
person is guilty of forgery if, with intent to injure or
(a) He or she falsely makes, completes, or alters a written
(b) He or she possesses, utters, offers, disposes of, or puts
off as true a written instrument which he or she knows to be
Bradshaw's trial, the only issue was whether the
certificate of insurance was a "written
instrument." A written instrument is broadly ...