708-872 Falsifying business records. (1) A person commits the offense of falsifying business records if, with intent to defraud, the person:

(a) Makes or causes a false entry in the business records of an enterprise;

(b) Alters, erases, obliterates, deletes, removes, or destroys a true entry in the business records of an enterprise;

(c) Omits to make a true entry in the business records of an enterprise in violation of a duty to do so which the person knows to be imposed upon the person by law, other than for the information of the government, or by the nature of the person's position; or

(d) Prevents the making of a true entry or causes the omission thereof in the business records of an enterprise.

(2) For purposes of this section:

"Business record" means any record kept or maintained by an enterprise for the purpose of evidencing or reflecting its condition or activity.

"Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

"Enterprise" means any entity of one or more persons, corporate or otherwise, engaged in business, commercial, professional, industrial, eleemosynary, or social activity.

"Information" includes data, text, images, sounds, codes, computer programs, software, or databases.

"Record" means information that is written or printed, or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in a perceivable form.

(3) Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor. [L 1972, c 9, pt of 1; gen ch 1993; am L 2014, c 33, 1]




Inclusion of false information in an otherwise genuine document or record is not covered by the forgery offenses. Moreover, only those private records which are required by law to be kept for the information of the government are protected by the prohibition against tampering with public records.[1] "This leaves a large gap in the case of genuine business records, the content of which has been deliberately falsified or rendered incomplete as a prelude to working a fraud on potential customers. Section [708-872] is intended to close this gap."[2] This section is aimed primarily at conduct preparatory to the commission of fraud, as indicated by the requisite culpability of intent to defraud, and not the protection of the integrity of business records as such.

Previous Hawaii law provided no general offense for the falsification of business records.




Act 33, Session Laws 2014, amended this section to apply to electronic statements, documents, or records. The legislature found that many government and business records are kept in electronic form. However, the current law prohibited only the alteration of records kept in written form. In 2000, Hawaii adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, chapter 489E, to recognize the need to establish the legal validity of electronic records, signatures, and contracts. Act 33 protected consumers by making relevant criminal offenses also applicable to electronic statements, documents, or records. Senate Standing Committee Report No. 3330, House Standing Committee Report No. 260-14.



708-872 Commentary:


1. 710-1017.


2. Prop. Mich. Rev. Cr. Code, comments at 294.



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