Paper Forensics


Why hire a paper expert?

The importance of a print expert.

One of Doug's areas of expertise is surface and colloid chemistry which is related to the chemical relationships and interactions between the surface properties of a sheet of paper and the inks and toners that are printed on the paper.

Years of working with companies like Xerox, HP, Cannon and Deluxe Check has given Doug the understanding of this interface of paper and printing properties. Doug has developed papers for laser, inkjet and micr printing purposes and understands the unique properties of each of these technologies and how they interact with the surface of a sheet of paper.

The use of scientific methods.

As technology advances, so do the methods that fraudsters use to alter documents. With a degree in Paper Science & Engineering Doug has the expertise to apply scientific methodologies to examine and report his forensic analysis. 

Doug also has an understanding of how printers work and can explain why printers often exhibit unique properties to the text they print. An example would be why a laser printer leaves toner specs around some of the letters. These are clues to identify if all pages within a document were printed on the same printer or not. Most printers have some unique properties that can be identified through examination, as long as you understand what to look for.

The utilization of scientific analysis and reporting provides objective evidence versus subjective. Science and data provide the hard facts for juries and judges to come to the proper judgements in cases.

Fraud involving legal documents cost Americans billions of dollars every year in lost business or property. Your important documents are one of the most vulnerable assets. Nobody ever thinks that a family member would every take your Will or Trust and change it, but it happens all of the time.


Legal document fraud emotionally affects those victimized by it and each year in the United States those victims incur additional millions of dollars in legal fees and court costs in attempting to obtain redress.

Much of the fraudulent activity conducted on documents involves altered text and cut & paste signatures. It is important to hire a forensic document examiner who understand the technologies that are being used to alter documents. Doug Cobb knows and understands these software programs and how to identify these alterations.


With a degree in Paper Science & Engineering, and having spent nearly 30 years working and consulting in the paper industry, Doug has the expertise in understanding how paper is made and what unique properties that can be identified in altered documents. There is an untold story of evidence ready to be uncovered within the paper of altered documents.

Doug has also been involved in the development of paper grades for clients like Boise, Xerox, Hewlett Packard, Canon and Mc Donald's. Knowing and understanding the chemistry of papermaking and how paper is converted into its end use products has gained him the ability of being able to identify those unique properties in questioned documents.

Cut & Paste Examples

Portable Laboratory

The importance of having the proper equipment for a forensic document examination can not be overstated. Many examinations take place within a courthouse or law office, you must be prepared to do everything you need to do to properly examine a document.

I have a fully equipped, portable lab with up to date equipment to handle most needs for any examination. I use the latest software and technology in my examinations.

Laboratory Equipment

  • MiScope MP3 with UVIR

  • X-rite Pantone Exact Color Spectrophotometer

  • Epson V700 Flatbed Scanner

  • Celestron Biological Microscope

  • Celestron Stereo Microscope

  • Portable Lightbox

  • Various computer software programs for electronic document exams

  • Cameras

Color Spectrophotometry

My patent pending methodology of identifying paper from different sources is a specialized service that only I offer. Since 

Color spectrophotometric analysis utilizes an X-Rite Pantone® portable color spectrophotometer which measures the color reflectance spectral data of the paper. The testing method and standards follow the industry guidelines of TAPPI, the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry, and ISO Standards for the testing of paper and paperboard. See Appendix B for additional background information.


The pulping and water chemistry of each specific paper mill, along with the specific color dyes and optical brighteners added to the paper during manufacturing, are the factors that determine the color spectral data of each sheet of paper. DE* is referred to as DE or (delta E), a measurement of the total difference in color between a comparable reference standard and the questioned paper. Examination protocol involves establishing a statistically significant normal population using the standard reference paper source.If the resulting DE falls within the specified DE tolerance, it is statistically the same paper, containing the same chemistry and part of the normal distribution.