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Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: E042427
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/01/2008

Where defendant forged two different signatures on one trust deed, he could only be convicted of one count of forgery. Appellant told the victim he would help her refinance her houses, which were facing foreclosure. The victim signed a stack of documents given to her by appellant. Later she learned that a trust deed had been recorded against one of the houses, purportedly to secure a $25,000 debt to appellant. The victim did not deny signing the trust deed, but denied doing so knowingly. The notary whose name appeared on it denied notarizing it. Appellant was found guilty of forgery of the notary’s signature, forgery of the victim’s signature, forgery of a public seal, and recording a forged instrument. On appeal, appellant contended that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction for forging the victim’s signature, because there was no evidence her signature was not genuine, nor any evidence that there were misrepresentations concerning the nature of the trust deed. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that there was evidence that appellant made affirmative misrepresentations concerning the nature of the trust deed. Further, he could be convicted of forgery even in the absence of affirmative misrepresentations. However, the appellate court held that the conviction for forging the victim’s name had to be vacated for another reason. Under Penal Code section 470, subdivision(d) the falsification of two signatures on a single trust deed constituted only one count of forgery, not two.