Archives : 2010 : December
Under California Penal Code Sections 470 through 483.5, any person who intends to default someone by creating a new document and signing their name which may include falsifying any record, publishing or passing it off as a true and genuine check, bond, bank bill, cashier’s check, traveler’s check, money order, note, raft, or controller’s warrant for payment of money or accepting goods is guilty of the crime of forgery in California.
California Penal Code Section 477 defines counterfeiting as making an imitation of something that is not authorized including gold or silver coins, gold dust, gold or silver bullion or bars, lumps, pieces, or nuggets, and selling, passing, giving someone payment for the counterfeit item with the intention of defrauding another person and knowing the item is counterfeit, is guilty of counterfeiting in California.
Penalties and Fines
Forgery in California is punishable by imprisonment in county jail or state prison for up to one year. If the forgery involves the willful and knowingly use of a telephone or telegraph the fine is up to $10,000.
Counterfeiting in California is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two to four years. This includes crimes of making or knowingly having in your possession a die, plate or any other machine that is used in counterfeiting gold or silver bars, coins, pieces, nuggets or counterfeiting bank notes or bills. All such apparatus must be destroyed. Counterfeiting, forging or altering a ticket, coupon, check or passing or publishing the item in circulation is subject to a fine up to $1,000.
Los Angeles Police Department and investigators from private industries led to the seizure by LAPD of $4.06 million in counterfeit goods ranging from music CD’s and DVD’s of brand new released movies as well as purses, jerseys, sunglasses and other knock off goods. The raids started last month and ended Monday December 20, 2010. The merchandise was seized from downtown vendors and flea markets along Santee Alley, which is a favorite spot for counterfeiters to sell their goods. Authorities stated that criminal gangs were involved in the piracy activity. This was the latest in arrests by LAPD’s antipiracy team which has seized $93.8 million in illegal goods since the start of the team in 2004. Investigators estimate that counterfeit goods cost local businesses $5.2 billion in lost revenues annually and $4.4 billion in lost wages annually.
Committing forgery or fraud in California is serious. You should hire a California criminal defense attorney to represent you. The attorney will review the evidence and interview police and witnesses to see if there is enough evidence in which to convict you. The attorney will assist with getting your chargers reduced or dismissed for insufficient evidence or illegal search and seizure.
California Penal Code Sections 548-551 make it a crime for anyone to willfully injure, destroy, secrete, abandon, or dispose of property insured against loss, damage from theft, embezzlement or casualty (excluding fire, which is not included under the definition of casualty in this regard) with the sole intent to defraud the insurer, whether the property belongs to you or another person. You can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the insurance fraud crime and the amount of money involved.
It is illegal to aid, abet, solicit or conspire with anyone to commit the following acts which constitute insurance fraud under California Penal Code Sections 548-551:
· Knowingly presenting a false or fraudulent insurance claim for payment for
loss of injury.
· Knowingly presenting multiple claims for the same loss or injury to more
than one insurance company with the intent to defraud them.
· Knowingly participate in a vehicular accident with the intent to present a false claim.
· Knowingly present a false or fraudulent claim for payments for loss
for theft, destruction, damage or conversion of any vehicle or vehicle part or the contents of a motor vehicle.
· Knowingly make a false or fraudulent claim for a health care benefit or
payment including worker’s compensation health benefits.
· Knowingly presenting any false or misleading statements to an insurance
company or to fail to disclose an occurrence or event
· Intentionally burning property (act of arson) to collect an insurance payment
or assist the owner of the property to collect a payment from their insurance company.
If found guilty of any of these offenses and the claim amount is more than $950.00, you face imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year and a fine not extending $10,000, or imprisonment in the state prison for two to five years and a fine not to exceed $50,000 fine, or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater. For a claim amount under $950.00, you face imprison in the county jail not to exceed six months and a fine of $1,000. You may also have to pay restitution in an amount determined by the court for medical evaluations or treatment services. If you have been previously convicted under the California insurance statute of insurance fraud, you will not be eligible for probation or a suspended sentence. You may receive an enhanced sentence ranging from two years to five years sentence for each prior conviction. A subsequent conviction is punishable by imprisonment in a California state prison and a fine of $50,000. Fines are doubled if the fraud involves an automobile claim.
Jeweler Lior Bitton, 36 of Los Angeles, owner of Pacific Diamonds and Gems jewelry store located in Westminster, CA was arrested for fraudulently collecting over $99,000 from his insurance company after filing a false claim to his insurance company reporting that a 4.21 carat diamond had been stolen when one of his employees had been robbed of 20 diamonds. Meanwhile, in September of 2009, Bitton had registered the same diamond with the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The unique properties of the diamond act as a fingerprint in which to identify the stone. In March 2010, Bitton went to Israel and met with a diamond wholesaler. The wholesaler presented the diamond to the GIA. The GIA identified the diamond as the same diamond that Bitton had registered with them previously. He was arrested by Westminster Police and charged with one felony count of insurance fraud. He faces a maximum five year prison sentence in state prison if convicted. The Westminster police recovered the diamond and have it in their custody.
If you are charged with insurance fraud in California and you are convicted, you would not be able to obtain insurance in the future or you may not be able to find employment. It is recommended you hire an experienced California criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney will review all the evidence to make sure that the prosecutors have a case against you. The attorney may be able to get you a reduced sentence and penalties or get the charges dismissed based on lack of evidence or other defenses such as you were unaware of the fraudulent activity of another person.
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