A system and method for tagging sheets of recording material, so that the origin of the sheets and the authenticity of the sheets may be determined, includes a roller that applies at least a portion of the random pattern to the document. The random pattern is applied by imprinting, embossing, or by piercing the sheet. The pattern applied to the sheet can be determined by any known forensic technique and the pattern can be imaged and stored in a database. A series of rollers may apply phase shifted random patterns to one side or both sides of the sheet. The phase shift of the random patterns may be determined to establish a sequence code. The roller or rollers including the random patterns may be installed in an image forming apparatus, preferably in a sheet transport mechanism of the image forming apparatus.
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