White Collar Crimes

White Collar Crimes and Fraud Charges in California

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White collar crimes are usually financially motivated, nonviolent acts. They are known as “white collar” because the people who commit them tend to be business professionals and government officials. These schemes often involve lying, stealing and cheating in order to achieve financial gain. Technology has made committing white collar crimes easier than ever before, and many of fraud lawyer in orange californiathese schemes have gotten more sophisticated in recent years.

What is a White Collar Crime?

Being convicted of a white collar crime in California can lead to high fines, as well as subject the guilty party to incarceration. Some of these crimes may entail significant sentences in a county jail or state prison. Some are tried under specific laws that cover these types of crimes, while others are prosecuted under laws that are designed to cover theft, forgery or perjury.

The majority of white collar crimes are known as wobbler offenses in California, meaning they may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The prosecution will make this determination based on the details of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal record. While a few are always charged as misdemeanors, a large number are also always charged as a felony and can lead to serious legal, financial and personal consequences.

California Fraud Laws

white collar crime attorney californiaDefrauding another is against the law in every state, and in many cases may also violate federal laws. In addition to facing a strict sentence under state law, defendants may also be prosecuted for fraud in a federal court. Fraud is a very serious offense with stiff consequences according to both California and federal laws.

In addition to high fines and imprisonment, a fraud conviction can also cause a number of other problems. Any money, property, vehicles or other items involved or obtained through fraudulent activity may be seized, meaning the guilty party’s family could lose their home as well as face major financial problems while their loved one is imprisoned.

Because California law considers fraud a crime of moral turpitude, those who were not born in the United States may be subject to removal or deportation. This is true even for those who are legal resident aliens and others who have the proper documentation.

A fraud conviction can also lead to suspension or revocation of a professional license. This is especially true in cases where the licensed party used their license in the process of committing the fraud.

Other White Collar Crimes

The term “white-collar crime” pertains to a variety of different violations.  Some of the most common are:

The term “white-collar crime” pertains to a variety of different violations.  Some of the most common are:

Extortion:  California Penal Code Section 518 covers the crime of extortion, often referred to as blackmail.  To convict you of extortion, a prosecutor must prove that you:

  • OBTAINED PROPERTY OR AN OFFICIAL ACT FROM ANOTHER PERSON
  • THE PROPERTY OR OFFICIAL ACT WAS OBTAINED WITH THE CONSENT OF THAT PERSON
  • THE CONSENT WAS INDUCED THROUGH THE WRONGFUL USE OF FORCE OF FEAR
  • YOU WRONGFULLY USED FORCE OR FEAR INTENDING TO INDUCE THAT PERSON TO CONSENSUALLY GIVE YOU PROPERTY OR PERFORM AN OFFICIAL ACT

Extortion is typically charged as a felony and if convicted you face up to 4 years in California state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.  Extortion law is strict, even if you merely attempt extortion and do not complete the act; you still face almost the same penalties as if you had committed the crime.

Forgery:  California Penal Code Section 470 makes forgery illegal.  In order to convict you of forgery, a prosecutor must prove that you:

  • ALTERED, CREATED, OR USED A WRITTEN DOCUMENT
  • WITH THE SPECIFIC INTENT TO DEFRAUD

Forgery can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances.  If you are convicted of misdemeanor forgery, you face up to 1 year in county jail and a fine of $1,000.  If you are convicted of felony forgery, you face up to 3 years in California state prison and a fine of $10,000.

Embezzlement:  California Penal Code Section 503 prohibits embezzlement.  In order for a prosecutor to convict you of embezzlement, they must prove:

  • YOU HAD A TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ALLEGED VICTIM
  • YOU WERE ENTRUSTED WITH CERTAIN PROPERTY AS A RESULT OF THAT TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP
  • YOU HAD THE SPECIFIC INTENT TO DEPRIVE THE ALLEGED VICTIM OF THAT PROPERTY BY FRAUDULENTLY TAKING IT AS YOUR OWN

enmbezzlement lawyer californiaEmbezzlement can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  This depends on the circumstances of your case as well as your prior criminal history.  Embezzlement can be charged under California Penal Code Section 487 as grand theft if the value of the embezzled property is above $950, or it can be charged under California Penal Code Section 488 if the value is less than $950.

If you are convicted of misdemeanor grand theft embezzlement, you face up to 1 year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.  If you are convicted of felony embezzlement, you face 3 years in California state prison and $10,000 fine.  For petty theft embezzlement, you face 6 months in county jail and a $1,000 fine; but if the value of the embezzled property was $50 or less you may just be subject to only a $250 fine.

Let Us Help You

If you are facing white-collar crime charges it is essential that you have adequate representation.  An experienced, diligent, and aggressive criminal law attorney can help you achieve a favorable result in your case.

Our clients benefit from the legal excellence and experience of Grant Bettencourt and all of the attorneys in our office. When it comes to facing white-collar crime charges you need an attorney that will vigorously fight to achieve justice on your behalf. At The Law Offices of Grant Bettencourt, we will exhaust every possible defense in our effort to obtain a favorable result in your case.

Defending White Collar Crimes

An attorney who is well-versed in the defense of white collar crimes can often build a strong case for a defendant in order to achieve acquittal, or a reduction in the charges or sentence. Some common defenses include:

-The defendant did not intend to defraud another person

-Someone else committed the fraud, and the defendant was unaware

-Someone else committed the fraud and the defendant is a victim of mistaken identity

-The defendant was lured into committing fraud by police, known as entrapment

Obtaining Legal Representation

fraud lawyer californiaIt is essential that someone who is facing white-collar crime charges has adequate representation. An experienced, diligent, and aggressive criminal law attorney can help those facing fraud charges achieve a favorable result in their cases.

Our clients benefit from the legal excellence and experience of Grant Bettencourt. When it comes to facing white-collar crime charges, you need an attorney that will vigorously fight to achieve justice on your behalf.

At the Law Offices of Grant Bettencourt, we will exhaust every possible defense in our effort to obtain a favorable result in your case. Call (925) 788-7178 or fill out the consultation form and Grant will call you in 24 hours or less.

 

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