Master Forger Mark Hofmann - Signed Personal Check - Salt Lake City, UT
- Country: United States
- Period: Federal Republic (1776-Date)
- Type: Personal Check
- Years: 1984-1985
- Composition: Paper
- Signature: Mark W. Hofmann
- Obverse: Rocky Mountain State Bank - Salt Lake City, UT; Various check details
- Reverse: Plain with various bank details
Mark William Hofmann was an American counterfeiter, forger, and convicted murderer. He is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished forgers in history. Hofmann is especially noted for his creation of documents related to the history of the Mormon Church & Latter Day Saint movement. When his schemes began to unravel, he constructed bombs that were used to murder three people in Salt Lake City, Utah. The first two bombs killed two people on October 15, 1985. On the following day, a third bomb exploded in Hofmann's car severely injuring him. This resulted in an investigation, trial, and sentencing of Hofmann.
During the investigation, police discovered evidence of forgeries in Hofmann's basement. As a result, several of the documents that were previously deemed authentic were analyzed by document examiner George Throckmorton and determined to be forgeries.
In January 1986 Hofmann was arrested on 4 indictments totaling 27 counts. The charges included first-degree murder, delivering a bomb, constructing or possessing a bomb, theft by deception, and communication fraud. Later in January a fifth indictment was added containing 5 additional counts of theft by deception. Hofmann initially maintained his innocence. At a preliminary hearing, however, prosecutors produced voluminous evidence of his forgeries and debts including evidence linking him to the bombs.
In January 1987 Hofmann plead guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, one count of theft by deception for forging the Salamander Letter, and one count of fraud for the bogus sale of the McLellin collection. Hofmann agreed to confess his forgeries in open court, in return, prosecutors in Utah and New York dropped additional charges against him. He was sentenced to five years to life, but the judge recommended that Hofmann never be released.
Hoffman forged many documents and racked up substantial debt as a result of his lavish lifestyle during his short career. These forgeries included the Anthon Transcript, Joseph Smith III Blessing, the Salamander Letter, the Oath of Freeman, and other various Mormon and Americana documents.
A number of books have been written about the story of Mark Hofmann, including The Mormon Murders, A Gathering of Saints: A True Story of Murder, Forgery and Deceit, Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case, and Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders. As well as a couple of movies/documentaries; The Man Who Forged America and Murder Among the Mormons (Netflix)
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