Category : White Collar Crime
A Look at the Prosecutorial Decision Making Process
The Vera Institute of Justice’s study entitled The Anatomy of Discretion: An Analysis of Prosecutorial Decision Making, with the support of the National Institute of Justice, analyzed how prosecutors make decisions in criminal cases. The Vera Institute conducted their study by looking at such factors as initial case screening and charging decision, plea bargains, recommendations for sentencing and case dismissal filings. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the current prosecutorial decision making process lack of public oversight is really serving the goals of the criminal justice system and fairness to defendants and victims.
The study found that while prosecutors said they were “committed to doing the right thing,” prosecutors had differences of opinions on what is considered “fair treatment” of victims and defendants, preferred different plea bargaining strategies and had different constraints placed upon them. However, the study revealed that there were two common questions that prosecutors asked themselves, which influenced the outcomes of their decision making process-Can I prove the case? And should I prove the case?
Results of the study reflect that prosecutors used the strength of evidence as the primary factor in their decision making process balanced by other factors such as the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s prior criminal history, fairness to the victim and defendant as well as contextual factors such as office polices, constraints of lack of resources such as shortage of courtrooms and judges and their relationships with colleagues and other actors in the criminal justice system including law enforcement officers, judges and defense attorneys in making their decisions. The study recommended that future research should focus on the magnitude of these constraints and the pressures they have on influencing prosecutorial decisions.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help?
Since the investigation and prosecution of defendants is a very complicated process of rules and procedures, influenced by the constraints placed upon prosecutors, it is necessary for defendants to seek the advice and representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them fight their charges and make sure they are being fairly represented.
If you are facing criminal charges for a misdemeanor or felony including DUI, vehicular manslaughter, drug crimes, white collar crimes, violent crimes, property crimes, possession of marijuana, domestic violence or sex crimes, having the proper legal representation can influence the outcome of your case. Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys understand how to navigate the criminal justice system. We have earned a reputation for working with prosecutors and law enforcement to make sure that you receive a fair and just defense. Your Imhoff criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate all the evidence against, build a strong defense on your behalf and negotiate with the prosecutor to either get your charges reduced to a lesser offense, negotiate alternative sentencing for you or try to get the case dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.
Lisa Steed, a former Utah Highway Patrol Officer, who was named Utah Highway Patrol’s “Trooper of the Year” in 2007 for making more than 200 DUI arrests, was fired by the department in November for alleged misconduct charges related to her duties. Steed admitted in Court in May of 2012, that during administering a BAC test on Theron Alexander in March 2010, she removed her microphone to perform an unauthorized act.
A class-action lawsuit was filed against Steed and her superiors on December 14, 2012, in District Court in Salt Lake City. The amount of monetary damages is yet to be determined. The lawsuit alleges that Steed filed false DUI charges against numerous people who had passed sobriety tests during her career with the police force. According to Studebaker, more than 40 people have contacted him claiming Steed wrongfully arrested them for DUI or drug charges.
According to the lead attorney in the lawsuit, a dashcam video from 2011 shows Steed pulling over an unidentified woman, who has now joined the lawsuit, for a suspected DUI and arresting her after performing a series of sobriety tests. The attorney claims that even though the woman passed all the tests, she was still arrested for DUI. The charges against the woman were later dropped because her blood test revealed that that there was no alcohol in her system.
Another dashcam video in 2009 showed Steed stun-gunning a motorist, who was determined to be sober later. The state settled the case against Steed in November 2011 for $40,000, without admitting any wrongdoing by Steed or the department.
Steed is currently under investigation by the FBI.
Hiring a Utah DUI Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are arrested for a DUI in Utah, you should hire a Utah DUI criminal defense attorney to help you fight your charges and conviction. At Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys, we successfully represent clients facing DUI charges in any of the following courts: Salt Lake City, Ogden, Logal, Brigham City, Provo, Orem, Sandy, Roy, Bountiful, Taylorsville, Bennion and all surrounding courts. We understand the seriousness of the charges and how a conviction can impact your life. Your Imhoff criminal defense DUI attorney will review your police report and field sobriety tests to make sure there were no errors or mistakes or your constitutional rights were not violated. We will mount a vigorous defense on your behalf.
Investigation Leads to Arrest of San Diego Man
A local 20 year old San Diego man named Mark Camarilla, also known as “Cubby,” was recently arrested in Scripps Ranch and booked on charges of wire fraud and access device fraud. Camarilla is accused of operating an Apple call in scheme where he obtained serial numbers of Apple products he did not own, claimed the product was defective and asked for a replacement product to be shipped to him. He provided stolen credit card numbers, which could be charged if he did not return the defective device. Camarilla allegedly sold and shipped 4 new stolen iPhones to an undercover agent he thought was another fellow carder.
The arrest was part of a two year FBI international cyber crime investigation regarding “carding” crimes involving the theft and sale of personal information of unsuspecting victims spanning over 13 countries, including the United States. The sting resulted in the arrests of 24 persons, including Mr. Camarilla, as well as 10 other persons in the United States, and 13 persons in seven countries. Four suspects still remain at large. There were also 36 warrants executed.
If convicted, Camarilla faces up to 30 years in prison. According to the FBI, these massive arrests protected more than 400,000 potential victims and prevented losses of approximately $205 million. It is hoped by law enforcement that the arrests will help decrease carding schemes and forums worldwide.
California Cyber Crimes
Using carding schemes and forums to exchange information on hacking methods and computer security vulnerabilities, buying and selling personal information such as stolen credit card and debit card numbers and selling hardware to create counterfeit cards and goods purchased with stolen cards are considered illegal cyber crimes. It has been difficult to prosecute these crimes because law enforcement has not always had the right technologies to do so, and many times they span over multi-jurisdictions and countries.
With the development of new technologies, state, federal and international law enforcement are able to increase their efforts to work jointly to arrest and prosecute computer criminals. For example, California now uses its eCrime unit to investigate and prosecute multi-jurisdictional criminal organizations, networks, and groups involved in identity theft crimes using an electronic device. Other states such as Texas, Florida and Louisiana also have similar units which focus on various cyber crimes.
Under California Penal Code Section 484-502.9, there are various penalties and sentences for cyber crimes depending on the type of computer crime involved, the value of loss and injuries suffered by the victims and the defendant’s prior record. Computer crimes and crimes associated with computer crimes include:
• Hacking of a computer
• Computer Tampering and Trespass such as spreading a virus
• Duplicating computer materials without authorized use
• Copyright theft
• Identity theft
• Grand Larceny
• Cyber Stalking
Typically, if convicted of a cyber crime in California, you can expect to receive fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and/or imprisonment in a county jail or state prison for a term of one year up to three years or more. You may also be required by the court to pay restitution to victims for their losses suffered as a result of the computer crime.
Hiring a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
It is critical for a person facing an investigation for a cyber crime in San Diego to get proper legal representation immediately. Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys understand the impact that being under an investigation of this sort can have on your personal and business reputation, and we will try and keep you out of the public eye and media as much as possible. Your Imhoff San Diego criminal defense attorney will raise strong defenses on your behalf making sure that your constitutional Fourth Amendment rights regarding unreasonable search and seizure of your home and personal property have not been violated. Your San Diego criminal defense attorney will negotiate with prosecutors to try and get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get you an alternative sentence such as community service or probation or get the case dropped.
NFL rules prevent that any bonus or award be offered to players directly or indirectly for personal fouls or injuries intentionally inflicted against opposing players. Gregg Williams, assistant coach of the Saints, who left after 36-32 playoff defeat to the San Francisco 49 team, to become the St. Louis Ram’s defensive coordinator, was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the pay to injure bounty rule. Assistant coach Williams was allegedly heard on an audio tape offering his team bonuses to injure opposing players on the San Francisco 49 team, including running back Frank Gore, quarterback Alex Smith, wideout Michael Crabtree and backup receiver Kyle Williams. Williams’ speech was delivered less than two months before the Saints’ bounty scandal became public and was revealed to Yahoo! Sports by Sean Pamphilon, who had access to the team’s functions during the 2011 season.
The NFL has also decided to uphold its discipline ruling of Sean Payton, the former New Orleans Saints coach, who has been suspended for the entire 2012 season, general manager Mickey Loomis, who has been suspended for eight games and assistant coach Joe Vitt, who has been suspended for six games regarding the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty program”. The NFL Players Association has retained the international law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski to represent the union in the “bounty” program matter and to work with the NFLPA lawyers in assisting the players who were allegedly involved with representation in the “bounty” program. The League is still deciding whether 27 players who were involved in the bounty program which was in place during the 2009 to 2011 seasons will also be disciplined.
Possible Criminal Charges
While players could face criminal charges relating to this bounty program, a majority of legal scholars agree that it would be rare for prosecutors to charge players for on field acts since sport leagues generally have the authority to police themselves, and cases are tough for prosecutors to prove that football injuries were caused by an accidental assault or battery. However, players could be charged with conspiracy to commit assault and battery under state or federal laws if it can be established that the Saints were conducting a criminal activity by enticing players to injure others for money.
According to the NFL investigation, the Saints bounty system included payouts of $1,500 for “knockouts” and $1,000 for “cart-offs.” There was also alleged evidence of a $10,000 bounty on Brett Favre and a $5,000 bounty on Aaron Rodgers. Therefore, players could also be charged with tax evasion regarding the alleged payouts if they received the money and never declare it on their tax returns. However, since Favre and Rodgers were never knocked out even though they were targeted there would be no tax evasion charges regarding bounties on them.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with an assault or battery case or conspiracy to commit an assault and/or battery or are facing other criminal charges, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to defend your rights. The attorney can vigorously build a strong defense on your behalf, negotiate with prosecutors to reduce your charges or get you community service, probation or your charges suspended.
If you are accused of federal public corruption, this is considered a serious crime. Public officials are especially held to a higher standard. When someone in public office is accused or arrested for public corruption while serving, the consequences are severe. You may be removed from office and face impeachment as well as face federal prison time and fines if you are convicted. It is also a crime under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, for someone to lie to federal government agents which includes knowingly and willfully making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation or lying regarding about any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the United States. Many times innocent people are unaware that they may have committed a public corruption crime and/or they might get caught up in the sweep of a government investigation for corruption. The government takes these crimes serious and prosecutes them vigorously. Judges also hand down strict sentences. These matters should not be taken lightly.
The recent trial and a conviction of former Governor of Illinois Rod R. Blagojevich is an example of a public official misusing power and participating in acts of political corruption. Blagojevich was found guilty, of which he was sentenced on December 8, 2011 in U.S. District Court by Judge James Zagel, to 14 years on 18 counts for public corruption. Although Blagojevich apologized and made a plea for leniency, his sentence was the second longest ever sentence in a federal court in Chicago for public corruption. The judge’s message for such a harsh sentence was that Blagojevich had a history of corruption while serving as Governor of the State of Illinois, including the discussion between the Governor and an aide for attempting to sell Obama’s senate seat and obtaining a $300,000 a year job from the Service Employees International Union for naming a candidate to fill the vacant seat after Obama was elected President of the United States, for illegal shakedowns for campaign cash and lying to federal agents. The judge stated that he believed Blagojevich had caused “…damage to the fabric of the State of Illinois… which cannot be easily repaired.”
Blagojevich’s claimed he was innocent, that his legal counsel never stopped him from committing any illegal actions and that he never intended there to be a “quid pro quo for the Senate seat.” Blagojevich was the first Governor of Illinois to be impeached and involuntarily removed from office. He is expected to start serving his sentence on March 15, 2012. His predecessor Governor George Ryan was also found guilty of public corruption and sentenced to a 6 ½ year prison term. Under federal sentencing guidelines and rules, Blagojevich won’t be eligible for release until 2024, at which time he will be 67 years old.
While receiving political campaign contributions is legal, “depriving the public of honest service” is illegal. When there is evidence that a public official tries to seek something of value in return for an official action, that can be considered a public corruption offense. If you are suspected of political corruption or public corruption or you have been arrested for such an offense, it is imperative that you hire a white collar criminal defense attorney immediately to develop a legal strategy to defend you. What you say and do can have lasting and profound effect on your case, so before you speak to investigators, you should consult with your legal counsel. The attorney can assert your first amendment rights and other defenses to either prevent charges from being filed against you, get your case dismissed or get your charges reduced to a lesser charge by having you plea acceptance of responsibility or a plea for leniency.
Under New York Penal Code Laws (Sections 190.25,190.65 and 190.78 -190.86) you could be charged and convicted of criminal personal identity theft for knowingly impersonating or presenting yourself as one or more persons and/or using personal identifying information, including a credit card, with the intent of benefit and/or to injure, defraud or cause such person or persons financial loss. Depending on the amount of goods involved and the number of identify fraud victims, you could either be charged with identify theft of the third degree Class A misdemeanor or higher (Penal Code Section 190.78,190.81-one or more persons defrauded), second degree Class E felony (Penal Code Section 190.79, 190.82-one or more persons defrauded in property in excess of $500) or first degree class D felony (Penal Code Section 190.80,190.83-one or more persons defrauded of property in excess of $2,000). It is also a crime to be in possession of a skimmer device, and you could be charged with a second degree class A misdemeanor (Penal Code Section 190.85) or a first degree Class E felony (Penal Code Section 190.86) if you have been convicted within the last five years of identity theft.
You could also be charged with grand larceny of the fourth degree (Penal Code 155.30-Class E felony), grand larceny in the third degree (Penal Code Section 155.35-Class D felony), grand larceny in the second degree (Penal Code Section 155.40-Class C felony) or grand larceny in the first degree (Penal Code Section 155.42-Class B felony property value exceeds over $1,000,000).
Fines and Sentences:
In New York, you could face a minimum jail sentence of up one year for an identity theft conviction or up 7 years, and fines from $1,000 up to $5,000, and you may also be subject to restitution to the victim under Penal Code Section 60.27. A first degree Class B felony grand larceny conviction carries a sentence up to 25 years imprisonment and a fine up to $25,000.
Credit card fraud and identity theft are also considered federal offenses under 18 U.S.C. Sections 1028 and 1029 when someone knowingly transfers or uses another person’s identification, including a credit card number, with the intent to commit an illegal act or defraud someone to obtain goods or services in excess of $1,000. You could face a fine and/or imprisonment up to 10 years.
New York police have indicted 111 people in the nation’s biggest and the most sophisticated identity theft credit card fraud ring case. “Operation Swiper” began almost two years ago with undercover police and wiretaps of a five group I.D. theft ring based in Ozone Park, Queens. Police reported that the groups sometimes worked together. As of Friday October 7, 2011, police had arrested 85 people and seized handguns, computer electronics and $650,000 in cash during the arrests after searching several homes. Accordingly to New York Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly, the I.D. theft ring purchased expensive items such as Apple electronics, luxury handbags, shoes and other products with stolen credit card information and then sold it overseas.
The way the I.D. theft ring worked was they hired skimmers who were retail store or other service industry employees who swiped credit card information on a skimming machine in order to steal the information from unsuspecting restaurant patrons and other business customers, as well as bank employees who had information about high end customers. The information was then given to a team of manufacturers in Russia, Libya, Lebanon and China who put it on blank credit cards. These new cards were then used by these five main teams and their criminal shoppers to purchase electronics and luxury items totaling approximately $13 million.
Among those arrested were bank tellers, restaurant workers and other service employees who used the cards also to pay for their luxury shopping sprees and stays at 5 start hotels as well as travel in rented luxury cards and private jets. Communications seized by New York police were in Russian, Arabic, Farsi and other languages, which had to be translated into English. According to New York police, the investigation was primarily centered on an Apple case because thieves can easily sell Apples products overseas.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
Identity theft, credit card fraud and related crimes are serious crimes in New York, and you should hire a New York criminal defense attorney to represent you. The attorney will aggressively defend you by reviewing eyewitness identification statements made against you and raising evidentiary issues at hearings in order to get your charges reduced, attempt to obtain community service, probation or get your case dismissed.
Medicare fraud is a serious federal crime. Medicare fraud crimes occurring in California are investigated by the Medicare Fraud Strike Task Force, part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), which is a joint Department of Justice-HHS effort consisting of federal, state and local investigators.You can stiff face fines, jail time, restitution to victims and insurance companies and loss of your professional healthcare license for committing Medicare fraud.
Acts of Medicare fraud include submitting bills for services that were never performed or submitting other fraudulent cost reports, billing more than once for the same services, falsely certifying or giving false information, ordering unnecessary tests (42 U.S.C. §1347, Social Security Act: 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(a), 42. U.S.C. § 1320a-7a(a)(1)(A) and (B)), kickbacks or self referrals (42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b), 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7a(a)(7), 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn or the physician self-referral/”Stark” law under 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn(g)(3)). Medicare fraud can be committed by healthcare professionals such as doctors, dentists, chiropractors, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, HMO’s, medical equipment companies and home health care providers.
Under the Health Insurance Portability Act Health, 42 U.S.C. §1347, anyone who knowingly or willingly defrauds any healthcare benefit program faces a fine or imprisonment for not more than 10 years or both. If bodily injury results because of the fraud, imprisonment may be up to 20 years. If death results because of the fraud, the imprisonment may be any term of years or for life. For making false statements under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §1320a-7b(a) through (h), you face a fine of not more than $25,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years or both per offense.
Carolyn Ann Vasquez, age 46, of Los Angeles plead guilty on March 28, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. in the Central District of California to using fraudulent medical clinics and stolen physician identities to defraud Medicare of approximately $6,268,899 from 2007 to 2008. Ms. Vasquez instructed her co-conspirators to submit false claims to Medicare for reimbursement for services that were never performed by physicians and for power wheelchairs, medical equipment and diagnostic tests that the physicians did not order or prescribe. Vasquez admitted that she had instructed a physician assistant working at one of the fraudulent medical clinics to use clinic/physician prescription pads to write fraudulent prescriptions and order medical services for diagnostic tests, power wheelchairs and other medical equipment in a physician’s name who Vasquez knew did not work at the clinic. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 11, 2011. Vasquez could face a maximum 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case was brought by the Medicare Fraud Strike Task Force, part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), which is a joint effort between the Department of Justice and HHS. The case is also being investigated by the FBI.
If you are arrested or accused of Medicare fraud, you should hire a California Medicare fraud attorney to defend you. The attorney may be able to raise the defenses of mistake, misunderstanding, that you are a victim and you may be able to testify against those who committed the fraud, or argue illegal evidence or violation of civil rights to get your case dismissed or charges reduced to a lesser offense and/or penalties.
Under California Penal Code Sections 518 to 527, the crime of extortion involves “obtaining of property from another, with his consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right”. Threats do not need to be physical. Extortion is both a California criminal offense and a federal offense of blackmail under 18 U.S.C. Section 873 when it involves interstate commerce, the use of a computer, telephone or if threats occur on federal property. Extortion is generally charged as a felony. You may face fines not exceeding $10,000 and imprisonment up to four years for an extortion conviction.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department detectives have been investigating whether actor Mel Gibson was a victim of extortion and have presented their results to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office on February 16, 2011. Officials have been investigating Gibson’s claims that his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, allegedly extorted $10 million from Gibson in exchange for not releasing some embarrassing voicemails of Gibson terrorizing her. There was also a report that Ms. Grigorieva may have texted Gibson about her intentions. Gibson and Grigorieva had been in a bitter child custody battle over their two-year-old daughter, which was settled in May 2010. Gibson and Grigorieva signed a child custody settlement agreement whereby Gibson gave her child support, a house and joint custody of their daughter Lucia in exchange for her not releasing the tapes. He claims she reneged on the deal when the tapes appeared on the Internet. After the tapes were released, he claimed she was involved in extortion against him. She has consistently denied any wrongdoing. The case is separate from the allegations she has claimed against Gibson for domestic violence. The District Attorney’s office has been reviewing the extortion case since August 2010, and no formal charges have been filed against Grigorieva.
If you are under suspicion for extortion or have been arrested for extortion in California, you should hire a California criminal defense attorney immediately to defend you. You cannot be convicted of extortion if property or money was given to you, and there were no threats or force or fear. The attorney can argue lack of sufficient evidence or misunderstanding to get the charges dismissed. The prosecutor would not be able to prove that you committed the crime beyond reasonable doubt without proof of fear and threats.
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 Penal Code Section 503 defines the crime of embezzlement as the “fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted”. Basically this means you have taken property that someone has entrusted you with and used it for your own personal benefit. Embezzlement crimes are also referred to as employee theft or employee fraud. Depending on the value of the money or goods taken, you can be charged with either a petty theft crime or a grand theft crime.
· Penalties for theft crimes in California are set forth under California Penal Code Sections 487 and 503-515 as follows:
· Theft crimes involving values less than $950 are considered petty theft crimes and carry up to six months jail time and a $1,000 fine.
· Theft crimes involving values over $950 are considered grand theft crimes and penalties range from up to one year jail time and a maximum $1,000 fine to 16 months, or two or three years jail time and a maximum $10,000. When property taken belongs to a state, county or city government, the theft is a felony crime.
On October 7, 2010, Susan Elaine Nash, 43, of Redding, CA was arrested at her home on the 2700 block of Alfreda Way at 10:35 a.m. on suspicion of embezzling approximately $27,000 from her former employer, OES Sheet Metal between December 2009 and June 2010. The owner reported Ms. Nash’s possible embezzlement to police in June 2010. Ms. Nash worked as the bookkeeper at OES Sheet Metal. Redding Police Department Financial Crimes Unit alleges that Nash wrote 37 separate checks made out to her and then cashed them at the local market without the business owner’s knowledge. Police reported that she has confessed to stealing the funds. She has been booked into the Shasta County jail instead of posting a $10,000 bail.
If you are charged with embezzlement, you should hire a California criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney may be able to fight the crime by questioning evidence leading to conclusions that you may have committed the crime and claiming you are a victim and that someone is trying to blame you for the crime. You may also be able to work out a plea agreement for restitution or agreeing to return the funds to the party you took them from in exchange for them agreeing to drop the charges against you or getting the charges reduced to a lesser crime. For crimes involving $50 or less, the charges may be reduced to an infraction and a $250 fine.
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