Los Angeles Fraud Defense Attorney
After one misstep or misunderstanding, you might suddenly find yourself facing accusations of fraud. A person or business may claim you obtained property or money you did not have a right to. Defending yourself against these allegations is daunting. What should you do? What should you say? The best thing to do in this situation is remain silent and contact a Los Angeles fraud attorney at Spolin Law P.C.. Once you have an experienced lawyer by your side, you can appropriately participate in a law enforcement investigation without fear of incriminating yourself, while you and your attorney will prepare to defend yourself in court.
What is a Fraud Crime?
A fraud crime involves using deceit to deprive another person of money or property and to unlawfully obtain a benefit for yourself. California Penal Code (PC) defines and prohibits numerous types of fraud, from intentionally writing back checks to forging another person’s signature on important legal documents. If you are accused of any type of fraud, the best thing to do is contact a fraud lawyer right away.
California Fraud Crimes
Fraud is a type of criminal conduct that encompasses numerous crimes, including:
- Forgery (PC §470) – It is illegal to sign another person’s name or a fake name on a document with the intent to defraud. You may also be convicted of forgery if you, with the purpose of defrauding another person or business, forge a seal, fake someone else’s handwriting, or falsify or alter a legal document.
- Falsification de Documentos (Forgery, PC §470 – Spanish)
- Insurance Fraud (PC §550) – You cannot present a false or fraudulent claim for payment of a loss under an insurance policy. (Insurance Fraud – Spanish)
- Fraude En Los Securos (Insurance Fraud, PC §550 – Spanish)
- Welfare Fraud (Welfare and Institutions Code §10980) – It is unlawful to knowingly, with the intent to deceive, make a false statement or representation or knowingly fail to disclose a material fact in order to receive a government benefit, such as from CalWORKs, CalFresh, MediCal, or another state-based assistance program.
- Embezzlement (PC §503) – It is illegal to fraudulently take control of another person or business’s money or property that you have been entrusted with.
- Tax Fraud (Revenue & Taxation Code §19706) – You may be convicted of a crime if you willfully fail to file a tax return, fail to supply the necessary information, or file false documentation in order to avoid a tax liability.
- Loan Fraud: Nowadays, there is a lot more scrutiny when it comes to how individuals and businesses conduct their financial affairs. Because the government is directly involved in mortgage lending and in the best interests of the economy, mortgage and loan fraud may be charged as either a state crime or as a federal offense depending on the circumstances with severe penalties if convicted.
- Check Fraud (PC §476) – It is unlawful for you to intentionally pass or publish a check that will not clear the bank with the intent to defraud. You can be charged with check fraud if you pass a fake check, alter a check, or forge someone’s signature.
- Credit Card Fraud (PC §484e-484j) – You can be convicted of a crime if you intentionally, with the purpose of defrauding another, acquire, make, possess, use, sell, or convey a credit or debit care without the owner’s consent.
If you are facing charges for any of the above crimes, contact a Los Angeles fraud attorney from Spolin Law P.C. today.
Potential Penalties for Fraud
Fraud crimes in California can be misdemeanors, felonies. Offenses can also be wobblers, meaning a prosecutor can charge you with either a misdemeanor or felony.
What you will be charged with depends on multiple factors, such as the statute, the specifics of your case, and your criminal history. Some fraud crimes are charged like theft, which means the level of the charge against you depends on the value of the money or property you allegedly obtained.
For a misdemeanor offense, you face up to one year in jail and fines reaching $1,000. You also may be sentenced to probation, community service, and restitution.
Felonies lead to harsher statutory penalties. A felony can result in a prison sentence and fines upwards of $10,000. These offenses typically have multiple options for prison sentences based on the statute. For instance, a crime may be penalized with three, four, or five years in prison. Similar to misdemeanors, you may face other penalties, such as probation and restitution.
After being accused or charged with a fraud crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to review your circumstances. A Los Angeles fraud lawyer can analyze the charges against you and explain the potential penalties.
Collateral Consequences of a Fraud Conviction
Whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, a fraud conviction will create a permanent criminal record. This conviction can delay or education. It can get in the way of you getting into a college or university or obtaining financial aid.
A fraud crime can have a profound impact on your career. It may make you ineligible for certain professional licenses or create a hurdle in obtaining one. You may be prohibited from certain positions or not hired for any job that requires working with a person or business’s finances. Overall, it may be difficult to find and obtain a good job.
Beyond school and work, a fraud conviction could impact your immigration status and child custody situation. If you were convicted of a felony, you also lose the right to own or possess firearms.
A Los Angeles Fraud Attorney Can Help
An attorney can help you throughout the fraud charge process. During an investigation, a lawyer will protect you from incriminating questioning and law enforcement overreach. If you are charged by prosecutors or indicted by a grand jury, your attorney may seek to have the prosecution drop or reduce the charges, or even ask the court to dismiss the charges.
If the charges move forward, then your lawyer will prepare the strongest case possible, including defenses such as:
- You lacked intent to defraud another person or business
- There has been a mistake of identity
- These are false allegations
- There is a lack of sufficient evidence
- You are the victim of entrapment