If you are faced with the need to carry out such a thing as handwriting examination on a photocopy, on a scan or photo copy, then our specialists are in a hurry to help you. Our office is located in Kyiv, Ukraine. The methodology for conducting this examination is slightly different from the standard identification methodology, but in general contains the same provisions, the only thing that excludes the possibility of checking a signature for a technical forgery, therefore such a phrase is written as the image of a signature in an electrophotocopy of a document.
The basics of handwriting research methodology (handwriting examination) also apply to the signature study methodology. The main purpose of the signature examination (signature examination) is to identify its executor. The signature research technique has some peculiarities. They boil down to the following.
1. Signature examination (signature examination) assumes a strict sequence. You should start by deciding whether the disputed signature was made by the person on whose behalf it appears. This will greatly facilitate subsequent work, since in the positive case, there is immediately no need for further comparison of the signature under study with samples of handwriting and signatures of other persons (intentional change of one’s signature is rarely observed).
If it is established that the signature under investigation was not executed by the person on whose behalf it appears in the document, then the signature executor is identified from among the suspected persons. The examiner, performing such actions as signature examination, finds out whether the signature was executed with imitation. Establishing this circumstance makes it possible, in further analysis, to correctly evaluate the detected coinciding and differing features.
The decision of the question of whether the signature under investigation was made by the person on whose behalf it appears is not carried out in the following cases:
a) if next to the signature it will be established that there are marks that someone has done it (a combination of the letters “for” or a vertical stroke before indicating the position);
b) if the decision (determination) on the appointment of an examination states that the persons on behalf of whom the signatures are being examined could not perform them at the specified time for any reason (business trip, illness, death, etc.); if the expert knows that signatures on behalf of fictitious persons (who do not exist or did not work at this enterprise at the time to which the execution of the disputed signature relates) or persons who are not able towishing to sign.
2. Examination of a signature (signature examination) is carried out in order to establish signs of unusual execution in it. It is necessary to establish whether the signature under study was forged, that is, whether it was made using any technical means and techniques (for example, through carbon paper by preliminary pencil preparation or by squeezing). Thus, when examining a signature, particles of pencil graphite, carbon paper can be found next to or under the strokes of the signature. Without verifying this fact, the expert, conducting such a case as signature examination, may make a mistake in resolving the issue of its executor, since a signature executed using technical means and techniques basically retains a set of features, which is inherent in the signature of the person on whose behalf it appears. The technical forgery of a signature makes research difficult and, as a rule, does not allow the expert to answer the question about the performer.
When examining a signature, the examiner must indicate that the signature was examined for technical forgery.
The study of a signature, like the study of handwriting, involves several stages.
Preliminary study of the received materials begins with the study of the investigator’s decision (court ruling) on the appointment of an examination. At the same time, the expert must find out: in what case the examination was appointed; what are the issues to be resolved; whether the presence of the sent documents corresponds to their list in the resolution (determination) on the appointment of an examination; whether the surnames, names and patronymics of the persons on whose behalf the signatures were made, as well as persons suspected of their execution are indicated; whether the circumstances of the case are stated.
When studying the circumstances of the case, it is important for the expert to find out the conditions that could affect the execution of the signature under study: the state of the alleged performer during the execution of the signature (fatigue, intoxication, serious illness, physical disabilities, etc.), posture (sitting, standing, etc.) .), education, how often the person has to sign, occupation, what kind of writing instrument the signer used, etc.
Knowledge of these conditions helps the expert to correctly navigate in the upcoming study, makes it possible to accurately and fully give answers to the questions posed to him.
Then the examiner proceeds to examine the document containing the signature under investigation and examine the signature itself.signatures. The number, date and other details specified in the decision (determination) on the appointment of an examination are checked, the paper on which the document is made is examined in order to establish the presence or absence of signs characteristic of the production of forged documents. The examiner must determine the location of the signature under investigation; to find out with what writing device the signature was made (with a pencil, pen, etc.), and also to determine the type of transcription of the signature under study.
The location of the signature on the document is of great importance for the study. It is important for an expert to establish how naturally the signature is placed in relation to the text of the document, because there are cases when criminals use a form or part of some other document with signatures on them to compile a fake document. Knowledge of this circumstance is important both for the subsequent verification of the comparative material, which, according to the method of execution, should be similar to the object under study, and for the study and evaluation of the identified features.
Sometimes in the process of examining a document, when a signature is being examined, the examiner may find that the letters or strokes of the signature being examined are indistinct, hardly noticeable (for example, they were erased due to frequent and long use of the document or were made with diluted ink). In this case, the examiner must obtain, by means of photographic methods, a clear image of the signature under examination.
Then the expert proceeds to a preliminary examination of the samples of handwriting and signatures of the suspects presented as comparative material. The compliance of the comparative material with the one specified in the resolution (determination) on the appointment of an examination on the persons and nature of the samples (free, experimental) is checked. The expert entrusted with the handwriting examination must have samples of the handwriting and signature of the person on behalf of whom the signature is being examined, as well as other persons suspected of executing this signature. The expert finds out the reliability (certainty of origin), comparability and sufficiency of the comparative material for the study.
When a handwriting examination is carried out, the reliability of the samples is established by the decision on the appointment of an examination, the protocols of interrogation and seizure of documents, as well as a preliminary comparison of the samples with each other. Comparison can be made according to the degree of development and common features. But we must remember the variability of signatures for individualnye faces and avoid hasty conclusions.
Comparability in transcription is required for the comparative material and the signature under study. So, if the signature under study has an alphabetic transcription, then the samples of the signature of the person on whose behalf the signature appears must also have an alphabetic transcription. When an examination of handwriting is done, it is necessary to have samples of the handwriting of this person, in which his surname would be found. As for the other suspected perpetrators, it is also necessary to have samples of their handwriting and signatures, texts containing the designation of the names of the persons on whose behalf the signatures are being examined. From the point of view of the sufficiency of the number of free signature samples, there should be 10-15, and there may be more experimental ones. When conducting such a thing as an examination of a signature, it is desirable to receive experimental samples of the signature within a few days and on separate sheets of paper, 2-3 signatures on each. If necessary, the expert has the right to request additional materials.
Detailed exploration begins with separate exploration. The task of this stage is to identify and carefully analyze all identification features contained in the signature. Studying the signs of the signature, the expert selects the most significant ones from the available ones.
Based on the peculiarities of the methodology, the expert first of all decides whether the given signature was made by the person on whose behalf it appears. The study of the studied signature begins with transcription. The qualitative and quantitative composition of the studied signature is determined: what letters the signature consists of, what is the number of letters and letterless strokes in it, is there a stroke.
With literal transcription, determining the composition of the signature does not cause difficulties. If the signature contains fuzzy letters, then the knowledge of the last name, first name, patronymic of the person on whose behalf it appears is of great help to the expert in studying the transcription of the signature. Examination of a signature sometimes shows that signatures are read presumably taking into account the similarity of one or another element with any letter.
In signatures with letterless transcription, the expert determines the type of letterless strokes: straight strokes, corners, loops, and also counts their number (for example, three right-hand loops).
If the signature has a mixed transcription (contains letters and letterless strokes), it is advisable to single out the letter part, the letterless part and the stroke in it.
After studying the transcription ofthe degree of signature development is determined. Moreover, if there are no signs of unusual performance in the signature (the pace of writing is familiar, not slow, the coordination of movements is not disturbed), then determining the degree of elaboration does not cause difficulties.
The signature may contain signs of unusual execution: reduced coordination of movements (tortuosity, breaks in letter elements, angularity of ovals, uneven directions of movements and length); slow pace of execution of letters and strokes (unreasonable stops of the writing instrument, blunt beginnings and endings of elements of letters and strokes, the presence of stroke and underdrawing). In this case, it is much more difficult to establish the degree of its development; it can only be determined presumably.
At the same time, having established signs of slowness of movements, the expert in each case must check whether they are not features inherent in the signature of a particular artist. If signs of slowness of movements and signs of reduced coordination of movement alternate with a complex structure of letters and strokes of the signature, in which these signs are absent, this may indicate an unusual execution of the signature under study: a technical forgery, unusual conditions for its execution, execution of a signature with imitation of genuine signatures, etc. . P.
When a handwriting examination is carried out, in order to establish the presence or absence of traces of preliminary preparation, indicating a signature forgery, the expert uses various technical means (magnifying glass, microscope, etc.). Technical research is an obligatory stage of the expert’s work, even in the absence of obvious signs of unusual performance.
If no signs of technical forgery and signs of unusual execution are found in the signature being examined, the expert examines the remaining general signs of the signature: size, acceleration, slope, connectivity (Fig. 75). To fix common features, the table below is used (see Table 10).
1 The “+” sign indicates continuous movement, the “—” sign indicates a break in movement.
After studying the general features of the signature, the expert proceeds to the study of particularx signs. The sequence of study corresponds to their location in the signature elements. Each person has his own constant sequence in the execution of letters, their elements and signature strokes. Therefore, the features (particular features) are displayed in them in a sequence corresponding to the order in which its parts are performed. The expert examines the particular features of a certain letter or element, stroke, and then considers these features in combination with others. Only in this way it is possible to determine the identification value of features and evaluate the entire set of features displayed in the signature.
In the study of signatures, as well as in the study of texts, a development is drawn up that helps to identify and study the features in the signatures and samples under study, to conduct a comparative study and evaluate the established features. Unlike the development of texts, the development of a signature consists in reproducing the entire signature under study, which makes it possible to study the features of not only individual letters, their elements, strokes, but also their combination. If the signature contains complex elements, a monogram, then it is recommended to reproduce separate fragments. Sometimes they make up a development based on signature fragments (a combination of letters or non-letter strokes). The features identified by the expert are carefully marked on the development, as in the study of the text, with symbols with a dotted line, a line with an arrow, etc. Next to the signature under study or its fragments, similar signatures or their fragments from the samples are reproduced.
The next stage of the expert’s work during such an event. As an examination of a signature, it is the study of samples of the signature of the person on whose behalf the signature under investigation is executed.
The separate study of samples begins with the study of transcription. Bearing in mind that one person has several variants of a signature, different in transcription, the expert must find those of them that would correspond in transcription to the signatures under study. This will facilitate the work of the expert in the future, since it is easier to compare signatures with the same transcription. With a large number of signature samples, the expert will be able to find the right one. If among the samples there is no required version of the signature (the signature under study has an alphabetic transcription, and the signature samples of the person on whose behalf the signature appears are mixed), the expert must examine the handwriting of this person, paying special attention to the words denoting the surname.
As the exp showsHandwriting practice in practice – general and particular features in signature samples are studied in the same way as in the studied signatures. It is not always possible to determine the stability in a signature due to the fact that there are no repetitions of certain letters (strokes). Therefore, if the signature is highly developed and there are no signs of unusual performance, the examiner may consider that the features contained in the signature are stable.
The issue of the procedure for examining a signature, when to conduct an examination of a signature, (beginning with a signature or with samples) is decided by the expert in each specific case. So, if one signature is subject to research, and a large number of signatures of this person, which are characterized by extensive variation, are presented as comparative material, then it is advisable to start a separate study with the signature under study, since it is easier for an expert to study all the options for signs in it and, accordingly, correctly select the necessary samples.
A comparative study is a comparison of features identified during a separate study in the signature and samples. In this case, the expert consistently compares the transcription, common and particular features, establishes their coincidence or difference. Conducting a comparative study, when solving such an issue as handwriting examination, facilitates the developments drawn up earlier. Coincidences and differences of signs are marked by the development expert, respectively, with the sign “+” and “-”, which are placed near the signs marked with arrows (Fig. 76).
If a transcription type match is established, then the expert proceeds to the study of common features. Here, special attention should be paid to the degree of development. If the studied signature is characterized by a high degree of elaboration, and the signature samples of a certain person are characterized by a low degree of elaboration, then such a discrepancy in the degree of elaboration will be sufficient grounds for resolving the issue of the lack of identity. Provided that the degree of elaboration of the studied signature and samples is the same, the expert proceeds to a thorough comparative study of other general and particular features.
In another case, when, for example, the signature under study has an alphabetic transcription, and the samples of the signature of the alleged performer are letterless (dashed), the expert, having established the difference in transcription, must compare with text samples (with handwriting samples), especially with words denoting the surname of this faces.
Examination of the signature shows that sometimes the signature has a bar transcriptionyu, and the samples of the signature of the person on behalf of whom the signature under study was made – alphabetic. Here the expert finds himself in a very difficult position, since the appeal to text samples becomes meaningless. There is an incomparability of the studied signature and samples. In such a situation (if the request for additional materials did not give a positive result, i.e. among the samples submitted additionally there is no required version of the signature), the expert must refuse to resolve the issue of signing the signature by the person on whose behalf it was made.
As a result of a comparative study, the expert establishes a set of identical or different features that are to be evaluated.
Evaluation of the results of a comparative study consists in determining the qualities of each of the identified features (coinciding and different) and evaluating their totality. The expert establishes the stability of the features, the different occurrence and the impossibility of repeating such a combination in the handwriting of two persons. The analysis of coincidences and differences of signs allows the expert to decide whether the signature was made by the person on whose behalf it appears, or by someone else.
With a positive decision on the issue of the execution of the signature by the person on whose behalf it appears, the expert can base the conclusion only on a combination of matching signs. which form an individual complex. When establishing, along with coincidences, differences in general (except for the degree of elaboration) and particular features, the expert is obliged to find out the reason for their origin: are they the result of unusual conditions of execution, the result of a change in signature over time,. natural variation, etc. As a rule, these differences relate to some general features and rarely to individual particular features. If the expert establishes that the signature under study was made by the person on whose behalf it appears, the study ends here.
If the issue is negatively resolved, the expert must assess the presence of coinciding features, i.e. whether these features are a consequence of the similarity of signatures of different persons, or imitation takes place here. When there are alleged perpetrators, further research is carried out to identify the specific perpetrator.
Not always an expert, even in the presence of all matching features between the signature under study and the samples, can come to a positive solution to the issue. This may be when the objects of study are simple in their design, brief and do not allow to reveal the complex of features necessary for identification, and when an insufficient amount of comparative material is presented to the expert.
Examination of signatures in order to identify signs of imitation (imitation). This examination is an obligatory stage of the signature examination process. At this stage, the researcher should pay special attention to the detection of signs of imitation.
Imitation is an attempt to repeat the actions of the person whose signature is reproduced. Imitation can be intentional or unintentional in nature. By intentional, we mean such imitation that appears as a result of conscious, purposeful human activity. Unintentional imitation is called imitation without special
purpose, such as when a person imitates the wife’s signature. In expert practice, as a rule, one has to meet with cases of deliberate imitation (reproduction) of the signature of a person.
Imitation is associated with the process of breaking the existing writing skill and developing a new skill, i.e., with changing the stereotype that a person has. The imitator performs movements that are unusual for him, and therefore it becomes necessary to control the process of signing. The inertness of the dynamic stereotype, i.e. its relative stability, limits the possibilities of imitation and, as a rule, is observed in signatures made with imitation. At the same time, with prolonged training and with a certain degree of elaboration of movements in the signature-sample and the handwriting of the forger, as well as with the similarity of handwritings, a positive result can be achieved. The approximation of the signature-imitation to the signature-original is influenced, in addition to the degree of elaboration and similarity, by handwriting, as well as by the transcription and constructive complexity of the imitated signature.
The foregoing indicates that the possibilities of imitation are limited and that the graphic skills of a person cannot be manifested in a signature made by him with imitation of a sample signature.
Most often, signature forgery with imitation is done in the following ways: by eye, from memory, as a result of training.
Mimic the “eye”involves the visual perception of the signature and its reproduction. This type of imitation is based on the sketching of the observed letters, strokes, i.e., parts of the signature. The counterfeiter first studies the signature as a whole, then divides it into its component parts, analyzes the movements, and only then reproduces it in a fake document. The accuracy of reproduction of the sample signature depends on visual perception, on its sharpness, completeness and accuracy. The counterfeiter focuses on the appearance of the signature and, as a rule, misses some of the essential features that individualize the signature. But due to the fact that the forged signature is not reproduced as a single system of movements, the process of its execution is made up of separate movements.
Often the counterfeiter cannot accurately reproduce the signature, because he is unable to determine the sequence of execution of its individual parts.
The expert detects, as a rule, signs of impaired coordination of movements, slowness of the pace of execution, namely: unnatural stops of the writing instrument; breaks in movements when performing individual elements of letters, strokes; traces of trembling, expressed in the sinuosity and breaks of strokes; drawings; uneven pressure.
So, the stops of the writing instrument are masked by placing the point of the beginning of the movement of any element of the letter (stroke) in the place of the break in the movement, and a low degree of connectivity is masked by elongated final strokes, which are closed by the subsequent initial parts of the letters (strokes).
Some particular features of the signature also differ: the form of movements when performing the initial and final parts of the signature, the length of movements when performing additional strokes, the placement of movements, and the complexity of movements when performing a stroke.
Thus, this type of imitation will be characterized by a large external similarity between the forged signature and the sample signature and a significant difference in particular features.
Imitation “from memory” involves the reproduction of a signature on behalf of another person, which the counterfeiter has previously observed and remembered. The counterfeiter imitates the visual image of the signature stored in his memory. Of great importance in the accuracy of the signature in this type of imitation is the duration of observation, the nature of memorization (intentional or unintentional), memory, etc. In most cases, a fake signature is only relatively similar to the original signature.Signatures made with imitation “from memory” are characterized by the difference in such general features as acceleration, connectivity, and differences in many particular features. Signs such as slowness of movements, impaired coordination of movements may not be very pronounced. The counterfeiter reproduces catchy “signs” of the signature: transcription, flourish, general shape and direction of movement. The forged signature contains elements of the forger’s own signature.
Thus, the signatures made by imitation “from memory” differ from the signatures made by imitation “by eye” in that the latter have a greater external resemblance to undoubted signatures, and also private features coincide to a greater extent.
Performing a signature as a result of training. The goal of training is to develop certain skills that make it easier to reproduce someone else’s signature. Training is a long process associated with visual perception. Prolonged training may lead to the development of such a skill, as a result of which the counterfeiter will be able to execute the signature with free, coordinated movements, which, of course, will make it difficult to establish the fact of imitation.
When forging a signature “by eye”, performed with preliminary training, such signs as impaired coordination of movements, slowness of pace, as well as the difference in particular signs, will appear to a lesser extent. So, for example, a sign of slowness may be completely absent.
It is necessary to be aware of how the degree of elaboration affects the execution of a signature with imitation. The same degree of elaboration of the signature of the forger and the sample signature facilitates imitation. And vice versa, if the handwriting of the counterfeiter is developed, and the handwriting of the sample signature is poorly developed, then in the forged signature the features characteristic of the sample signature will be more pronounced (they are added as a result of a decrease in coordination of movements).
The type of transcription also affects the ability to perform a signature with imitation. So, signatures of alphabetic transcription, complicated from the point of view of constructive, present the greatest difficulty in performing a signature with imitation, even with preliminary training.
As a rule, in signatures made with imitation as a result of training, there are few signs of the performer’s handwriting. However, in some cases, one can observe the preservation of the stroke of the signature of the forger, as well as individual particular features characteristic of a part of the element.letters, letters and strokes. The stroke of the signature of the performer and other signs are preserved because the counterfeiter, despite training, does not notice a slight difference in the sample signature and his handwriting (signature) and executes the forged signature with his usual movements:
In signatures made with imitation by preliminary training, both coincidences with the sample signature and differences are observed.
Coincidences refer to almost all common features and the following particular features: constructive complexity of movements when performing elements of the letter part and stroke; the form of movements during the execution of the initial part of the element of the letter, stroke; the direction of movements in the performance of capital letters and flourish; the form of movements when connecting letters to each other; placement of start and end points of movements when performing signature elements, etc.
Differences mainly relate to particular features: the shape and direction of movement when performing elements of letters; the relative direction of bending movements (tilt) when performing elements of letters and strokes; placement of points of intersection and attachment of elements in letters; length of vertical movements, etc.
When conducting such a case as an examination of handwriting, the expert should pay special attention to the nature of the drawings. In a fake signature, the drawings are distinguished by their special care and arrangement in a monogram, i.e., in complex letter combinations.
The study of signatures made with imitation of the signatures of other persons is carried out according to the methodology from the general to the particular. At the conclusion of such an event as the examination of a signature, the expert must give a generalized description of those signs that indicate the implementation of the signature with imitation. This conclusion must be drawn immediately after a comparative study.
Examination of handwriting and signature can be an integral part of such a procedure as examination of documents.
Please contact our detective agency in Kyiv, Ukraine.