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Fraud Defense Lawyers

Information about Fraud Offenses in Los Angeles and California

The term “fraud” can apply to many different types of criminal conduct in California. Put simply, under California law, you commit fraud when you act in a deceitful or dishonest manner that results in an unfair monetary gain or benefit for you - and usually a wrongful loss to someone else. Fraud crimes can range from using someone else’s credit card to purchase gas one time to investment fraud schemes that result in millions of dollars in losses to unknowing victims.

No matter what the facts of your fraud allegations may be, you need a highly experienced California white collar crime and fraud defense attorney on your side. These cases can be complicated with significantly different types of evidence than other crimes. Fraud cases can involve lengthy investigations before you are ever arrested, during which authorities build their case against you. You need a defense lawyer who will build an aggressive and effective defense strategy for you. Please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of David S. Chesley by calling 800-755-5174 or by contacting us online today.

Possible Fraud Charges and Penalties

Fraud crimes can stem from many different California criminal laws. Some laws outlaw one specific type of fraud, while others may be a catch-all for other types of fraudulent activities. For example, fraud crimes may fall under California’s theft statutes (Penal Code 484 and 487), forgery statute (Penal Code 470), or even the perjury statute (Penal Code 118).

Some statues that reference specific acts of fraud also state that the offense will be a felony charge. Otherwise, fraud crimes are often known as “wobblers.” This means that depending on the circumstances, a prosecutor may issue either a misdemeanor or felony charge. Some factors considered in this decision include:

  • How much property was stolen as a result of the fraud
  • The nature of the fraudulent act, such as a one-time occurrence or an ongoing complex scheme
  • The identity of any victims, including the elderly, an employer, or the government
  • Whether you have a criminal history, including any prior theft-related convictions or serious felonies

Whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges can make a big difference in the outcome of your case, though both types of charges should be taken extremely seriously. Some fraud statutes provide specific penalties, however, many penalties are in line with those for general theft crimes. Theft crimes can include “petty” theft, which is a misdemeanor charge for offenses involving less than $950. For offenses involving more than $950, it will be a wobbler and the prosecutor has the discretion to issue felony charges. The following are some possible penalties for fraud crime convictions:

  • Less than $950 - Misdemeanor offense, six months in jail, and/or $1,000 fine
  • More than $950 - Misdemeanor offense, one year in jail, and/or $5,000 fine
  • More than $950 - Felony offense, prison term of 16 months, two years, or three years
  • More than $65,000 - Add one year to the prison sentence
  • More than $200,000 - Add two years to the prison sentence
  • More than $1,300,000 - Add three years to the prison sentence
  • More than $3,200,000 - Add four years to the prison sentence

In addition to jail time and fines, there are many additional possible consequences of a fraud conviction. For example, once you have a fraud conviction on your record, you will likely be disqualified from any jobs involving money or a position of trust. If it is a felony conviction, you may have difficulty getting hired for any jobs at all. Landlords may refuse to rent an apartment to you. You may not be eligible for acceptance into higher educational programs, and you may have a professional license denied or revoked. The government can also seize any property or funds that authorities believe were involved in or were the result of a fraud crime. You may even face federal criminal charges for certain types of fraud offenses.

Theft crimes also regularly result in an order of restitution, which requires an offender to repay what they stole. California law also allows victims of theft and fraud to file a claim in civil court to seek up to three times the amount they lost as a result of the crime.

As you can see, the list of possible penalties is long. However, the right criminal defense law firm can fight to minimize your charges and the effects on your life. At The Law Offices of David S. Chesley, we have extensive experience handling a wide range of fraud charges, including misdemeanors and felonies.

Types of Fraud Crimes in California

Many fraud crimes are referred to as “white collar crimes,” which are offenses committed for financial gain that do not involve violence. White collar crimes generally do not involve a physical taking of property but instead obtaining money or property through deceit, false pretenses, the betrayal of a position of trust, or other dishonest means. There are many types of fraudulent conduct that can lead to criminal charges, and the following are only some examples:

  • Insurance fraud, including auto insurance, property insurance, health insurance, and unemployment insurance (Penal Codes 548-551)
  • Real estate fraud, including mortgage fraud, rent skimming, predatory lending, and recording forged deeds (Penal Code 115)
  • Financial fraud, including check fraud or passing a bad check (Penal Code 476a), credit card fraud (Penal Code 484e-484j), or securities and investment fraud.
  • Identity theft (Penal Code 530.5) and forgery (Penal Code 470)
  • Internet fraud, including unauthorized access of a computer to steal information (Penal Code 502), phishing schemes, work-at-home schemes, and non-delivery of merchandise schemes
  • Senior fraud, which can involve nursing home fraud as well as a number of different schemes intended to defraud individuals over the age of 65

Each type of fraud crime will have its own set of circumstances, evidence, and legal questions. Our skilled fraud defense attorneys know how to thoroughly investigate the allegations against you and identify all legal defenses that may apply in your case.

Legal defenses will vary depending on the facts of your case. One common defense is that you did not have the requisite intent to commit a crime. Fraud laws require that a person intended to commit fraud. If you did not know you were being dishonest, you should not be convicted of a fraud offense. Some people get accused of fraud because of mistaken identity or because they worked in close proximity with people engaging in fraud, though they were not aware of the fraud scheme themselves.

In some cases, the best option is for our attorneys to reach the best possible plea bargain with the prosecutor. We may be able to get your charges and sentence substantially reduced in exchange for a guilty plea. We will always thoroughly review all of your options with you so you can make a decision on how to proceed.

Contact Our Highly Skilled Los Angeles Fraud Defense Lawyers for More Information

The Los Angeles fraud defense attorneys at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley represent clients facing all types of fraud charges. We are ready and able to take on even the most complicated cases and can advise you on how we can assist you for free. Please call 800-755-5174 or contact us online if you have been arrested or are facing criminal charges in the Los Angeles area.

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Grand Theft

The Penal Code in California defines the severity of an offense and punishments by the value of the object or property stolen, and in the manner, it is stolen from the owner of the property.

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Robbery

California’s penal code 211 defines robbery as the act of felonious taking of property or something of value from the possession of another person by force or fear.

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Petty Theft

The penal code 484 in California’s law defines petty theft as stealing, taking, carrying, or embezzling property or money of another person that is capped at $950.

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Burglary

California’s Health & Safety Code has many sections that deal with the various offenses related to Marijuana.

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Fraud

In California, Fraud or Larceny is a criminal act resulting in criminal charges against the person committing the offense.

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Identity Theft

The number of cases of identity theft in California is increasing day by day, and it has become a prevalent crime in this age of Information Technology.

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Recent Results

  • Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!

  • Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!

  • Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.

  • Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!

  • Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!

  • Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!

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