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Presentation to American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (www.aaepa.com)
Michael N. Wakshull --Forensic Document Examiner Michael N. Wakshull --Forensic Document Examiner
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Temecula, CA
Tuesday, October 22, 2019


On Friday, October 18 I had the privilege of presenting “Document Fraud in Elder Abuse and Probate Cases” to the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys at their conference in Coronado, CA. This organization is excellent at planning. They have speakers perform a microphone check and test presenting the slides the day before the presentation. They make sure all aspects of the presentation are run flawlessly. This is definitely an organization that focuses on the members and goes out of the way to deliver excellence.

This was the first time I have delivered a two-hour presentation without a break. The audience was excellent. Attendees used the microphones on the room to ask questions. They were very good questions.

The presentation used cases on which I have worked during the past few years. Various means of fabricating documents were explored.
An interesting method by which signatures were applied to documents is using a cut-and-paste technique. This technique is performed by cutting a person’s legitimate signature from a document, then applying it to a new document. In prior days, this was performed by literally cutting the signature from a paper document. Often, a photocopy was made, then the signature was cut from the photocopy. Modern techniques are to scan the source document, then lift the signature using software such as Photoshop, GIMP, and Photo Paint. The lifted signature is then placed onto the fabricated document. The result is a valid signature on an invalid document. Using software techniques, skilled document examiners can often discover the alteration.

Other methods of fabricating documents in elder abuse and probate cases are to simulate the person’s signature onto a document. In one case, I showed that the signature on the change of beneficiary form comported with the decedent’s signature from before his stroke. After the stroke, he could barely write his last name. His last name was clearly written on this document. I showed the wife (stepmother) wrote the text on the form. I could not show whether she wrote the signature.

Attendees were shown clues to watch for when a prospective client claims that a document is not authentic. This helps the attorney know whether they have a valid case. In one instance, I told my client that his client wrote a holographic will. The will that left everything to the attorney’s client was not written by her aunt.

About the Author: Michael Wakshull, president of Q9 Consulting, is a civil and criminal court-qualified forensic document examiner providing services throughout the U.S.A. and internationally. Cases include authentication of handwritten and computer-generated documents. Wakshull holds a Master of Science in technology management, a graduate school certificate in forensic document examination and has spoken at international forensics conferences including the World Congress of Forensics in China. He authors and presents document examination courses for minimum continuing legal education (MCLE). Wakshull is a member of the vice president of Scientific Association of Forensic Examiners, National Association of Document Examiners, past president of the San Diego Chapter of Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA), ASTM International, and a senior member of the American Society for Quality.

Mike has authored three books on the topic of forensic document examination. 

As a National Speakers Association member, he is available to speak on these subjects.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Michael N. Wakshull
Title: Forensic Document Examiner
Group: Q9 Consutling, Inc.
Dateline: Temecula, CA United States
Direct Phone: 1-951-252-4929
Cell Phone: 805-501-3388
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