Category : Property Crime
Myrtle Beach South Carolina takes bomb threats and making false statements about explosive devices seriously. Under South Carolina Code Statute 16-23-750, you could be charged with a Class D or E felony when such threat constitutes threatening to kill, injure or intimidate individuals or damage and destroy property by using or threatening to use an explosive device or incendiary device. In South Carolina, there is no statute of limitations for any felony offenses. You can be arrested and tried and convicted at any time during or after the incident has occurred. Terrorist threat charges and convictions can result in fines; jail time of not less than 1 year or more than 15 years as well as courts may order anger management and violence prevention classes for individuals convicted of such crimes.
Saturday night, November 12, 2011, police shut down and evacuated Wal-Mart’s in Horry County, including the Wal-Mart in Myrtle Beach when Horry County Police said a caller using a phone booth along 544, told a 911 operator that they had left a bomb in a Wal-Mart store that might go off at 9 p.m., but did not disclose the exact location. Since the threat involved all of the super centers located on the Grand Strand and neighboring Myrtle Beach area police evacuated both the Wal-Mart in Carolina Forest off highway 501 and the Wal-Mart on Seaboard St. in Myrtle Beach. Police reported that they did not find a bomb in either location. It is not the first time that Wal-Mart has had bomb threats made against it. Police are continuing their investigation to find out who made such a prank call. Police consider this type of threat a high felony offense with serious consequences.
If you are charged with making a bomb threat or giving false information about an explosive device, you are facing serious felony charges in South Carolina and require the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A South Carolina criminal defense attorney can help in presenting all the facts of your case. The attorney will also investigate whether your rights were violated during police interrogation, whether you were given your Miranda Rights, and whether the police conducted any illegal search and seizure during your arrest. The attorney may also be able to help get your charges reduced, dismissed, or obtain probation, community service or attending of anger management or violence prevention classes.
Under California Penal Code Section 487, grand theft is defined as “the unlawful taking of another’s property” valued above $950. Property valued under $950.00 is considered a petty theft under Penal Code 484. California grand theft can be carried out by larceny (taking of another’s property) which occurs most often in shoplifting cases, embezzlement (unlawful taking of something entrusted to you), which occurs most often in an employment situation, tricking or deceiving someone to turn over their property without ownership rights or making false representations to defraud someone out of either the possession of their property or their ownership of the property. A California grand conviction theft carries up to three years in a California state prison. A petty theft conviction carries a fine up to $1,000 or up to six month’s jail time in a county jail or both.
Actress Lindsay Lohan was charged with felony grand theft on Wednesday February 9, 2011 for allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace from a Venice jewelry store on January 22, 2011. Surveillance video at the jewelry store showed her wearing the necklace while at the store, and photos taken a week later show her wearing a similar necklace. The necklace was returned to a police station before investigators arrived to search her home in Venice, CA. If found guilty, should could face up to three years in state prison and in violation of her current probation terms. She was recently released from three months of mandatory rehab treatment because she had failed a drug test while on probation for her 2007 drug and alcohol DUI conviction.
Lohan plead not guilty to felony grand theft charges through her attorney Shawn Chapman Holley. Lohan claims the necklace was on loan to her. Judge Schwartz set bail at $40,000. He told Lohan that it appeared she had violated her 2007 DUI probation, and warned her that if she violated the law while out on bail, he would have her arrested and held. Judge Schwartz also ordered Lohan not to have any contact with the jewelry store that reported the missing necklace after someone had sent flowers to the store on behalf of Lohan. On March 10, 2011, Lohan turned down a plea agreement offered by Los Angeles prosecutors that would have meant a guaranteed jail sentence. She will return to court in April 2011 for a preliminary hearing.
If you have been arrested for a felony grand theft/shop lifting or petty theft in California, you should hire a California criminal defense attorney. A conviction is generally based upon the store’s video camera evidence. The attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor petty theft, trespass, an infraction or get the case dismissed for lack of evidence or witnesses, or get you probation or community service.
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.
California considers crimes of arson extremely serious, especially during the fire season. The definition of arson under California Penal Code Section 451 is “the willful and malicious burning of a structure, forest, or land”. If you committed a burglary at the time of the fire, you could also be charged with burglary under Penal Code 459, trespass under Penal Code 602 or first degree murder under Penal Code 187 for the California felony murder rule if someone died in the fire that you intentionally started. Arson laws do not apply when you set your own property on fire, unless you did it with the intent to commit California insurance fraud by collecting money from an insurance company, or you caused injury to another person or to their home, property or land.
Penalties and Sentencing
Sentencing and penalties for California arson crimes vary depending on the following factors:
· Type of conviction- malicious or reckless arson.
· Type of property involved.
· Whether anyone was injured or killed as a result of the fire.
· Your past criminal history.
· Results of psychiatric or psychological evaluations.
Misdemeanor reckless burning (California Penal Code Section 452).
· Information or summary probation, up to one-year county jail time and a fine up to $1,000.
Felony arson or reckless burning (Penal Code 451 or 452).
· Up to 16 months to nine years in a California State Prison and fines up to $50,000 or twice that amount if the crime was for actual or future financial gain and a third strike felony penalty if you have prior felony convictions under the California Three Strikes Law if you were convicted of malicious arson under Penal Code 451.
· Additional and consecutive sentences of one to five years in the California State Prison for either a prior felony conviction for malicious or reckless arson under either Penal Code 451 or 452, or if severe bodily injury occurs to a firefighter, peace officer or other emergency personnel as a result of the fire or you used an accelerating device to start the fire or to delay ignition.
The following aggravating circumstances require that you must register as a convicted California arson offender:
· The fire was in retaliation against the person who you knew or believed owned the building such as a former landlord who may have evicted you.
· You intentionally set fire to a building or structure you knew was a place of worship.
· Prior arson convictions within ten years or if the damage or losses were in excess of $5,650,000 or you damaged five or more inhabited structures. You also face a California State Prison sentence of 10 years to life without the possibility of probation.
· Murder, whether intentional or unintentional under the California felony murder rule during an arson that was committed intentionally is considered a first degree murder charge in California with a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
· You possessed, manufactured or disposed of flammable or combustible materials or a device in connection with arson or attempted arson.
The length of time you must register depends on factors such as whether you were an adult at the time of the conviction and when you were convicted. Failing to register is a misdemeanor charge with a six month to one-year sentence in the county jail.
A series of fires broke out on Friday November 12, 2010 near the Paiute Cultural Center, Brockman and Diaz lanes, Peoples’ Park behind the J Diamond Mobile Home Park, and also on Saturday November 13, 2010. One fire started around 7:30 p.m. in the trees and heavy brush off See Vee Lane on the Bishop Indian Reservation and a second fire erupted three hours later in the same area. California investigators from the Inyo Sheriff’s Department, Bishop Police and California Highway Patrol, with the assistance of Cal Fire and Bishop Fire, were able to narrow down three suspects and make arrests. The three suspects, teenage boys, Thomas Stone, 18, Jared Manga, 18 and a 16-year-old juvenile were arrested three days later on November 15, 2010 for arson and conspiracy for setting the fires. According to investigators, these fires could have caused a large amount of damage and potential loss of life had it not been for the quick responses by Bishop Fire and investigators, which helped avoid any tragedies. Bail for Stone and Manga was set at $250,000.
Arson investigations require sophisticated and trained police units and teams with expertise in chemical analysis and forensic evidence who are able to determine the cause and origin of the fire. K-9 dogs are also used to determine the presence of ignitable liquids such as gasoline, charcoal lighter, lighter fluid, paint thinner, kerosene and others at the scene and on people or clothing. Since the majority of arson crimes do not involve witnesses, the investigators must be able to link the evidence of the fire to the arsonist in order for the prosecutor to obtain a conviction.
If you have been arrested for arson in California, it is crucial that you hire a California criminal defense attorney to defend you. California arson laws are very strict and have harsh and severe punishments and penalties. The attorney can argue defenses such accident without intent, insufficient evidence, mistaken identity; you were falsely accused or wrongfully arrested. The attorney works with expert arson witnesses who can explain to the judge or jury whether or not there was evidence at the scene of the fire that indicates an arson took place such as flammable liquids or melted copper wiring. If you are have been convicted of an arson requiring registration as a California convicted arson, you may be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation. The attorney can assist you with this process or help you with obtaining an expungement under California penal Code 1203.4 so that you do not have to register as a convicted arson offender.
The California Attorney General’s Office released their findings regarding property crimes in a Preliminary Report covering January 2009 through December 2009, reporting that property crimes were down 11% in California during the year 2009 compared to 2008. There were 413,661 property crimes reported in 2008 and 367,745 property crimes reported in 2009. Crimes categorized as property crimes and included in the report were burglary, automobile theft and larceny- theft crimes of over $400.00. The statistics were compiled from 87 agencies consisting of police, sheriff and cities that contracted for their police because they did not have their own police force with populations over 100,000.
Broken down by category:
• Burglary decreased 5% from 147,101 in 2008 to 139,703 in 2009.
• Motor vehicle theft decreased 17.4% from 126,739 in 2008 to 104,742 in 2009.
• Larceny crimes over $400.00 decreased 11.8% from 139,821 in 2008 to 123,300 in 2009.
Even with the high unemployment California is facing, when interviewed earlier in the year, before he resigned as Los Angeles Police Chief, Chief Bratton was quoted as saying the reason crime is down in Los Angeles is that “cops matter.” In fact, during his six years as Los Angeles Police Chief, crime declined in Los Angeles. Crime experts contribute the LAPD’s success to their well organized efforts on tracking crime trends and sending police to problem areas as well as the LAPD’s continuous programs working with religious groups, outside agencies, the community and cracking down on gangs. Other explanations for the decline in California crime rates during 2009 are that more people are at home because they have lost their jobs giving criminals less opportunity to commit home burglaries, auto thefts and larceny. While others explain the crime decline as the population is aging and older persons commit fewer crimes. Other criminologists see the economy as playing a major force in the rise in crime rates as the demand for stolen goods increase because more people will be looking for cheaper prices on the black market and at local street markets.
California Penal Code 487- California Grand Theft Law
California Penal Code 487defines burglary as “entering a home, shop, etc. with the intent to steal.” So if you enter a home or business with the premeditated intent to commit a burglary and you carried out the plan, you could be convicted of grand theft and burglary. However, if the property you took was under $950.00, then you may only be convicted of petty theft. If you receive stolen property knowing that it was stolen, you could be convicted of grand theft misdemeanor or a felony depending on circumstances of the case and your criminal history record. If you use a firearm to commit a burglary or petty theft, the crime is considered a grand theft felony and a strike on your record. Convictions for grand theft misdemeanors carry a sentence of up to one year in the county jail. A grand theft felony conviction carries a sentence of 16 months, two years or three years in a California State Prison. There are additional consecutive sentences of one year if the property you took is worth more than $65,000, two years if the property was worth more than $200,000, three years if the property was worth more than $1,300,000 and four years if the property was worth more than $3,200,000. A conviction for property crimes should be taken seriously. You should consult a criminal defense attorney upon your arrest to defend you.
Now Playing: Imhoff & Associates - Criminal Defense Attorneys
Talk to Us Now
Have a Question?
We can help to answer it