We all make mistakes. Sometimes when we are in times of need we think the risk is worth it. Only when we get caught do we realize the extent of our bad choice. Regret can’t undo what’s already been done. Handling the consequences in a responsible fashion, however, can lessen the sting of remorse.
As experienced California criminal defense lawyers, we have handled many cases of fraud, forgery, embezzlement, and bad checks. We know what kind of financial dire straits lead people to commit these offenses. We also know, however, that California courts are serious about prosecuting these cases.
Whether you made a bad decision or are being accused of something you didn’t do, you need an experienced, knowledgeable and hard fighting criminal defense attorney by your side. Your reputation and your freedom may be on the line. We can help ease some of the stress by offering you years of experience and a determined attitude.
We want to help you. We can defend you against your forgery or fraud charges in the California Criminal Courts. Call for a free consultation on your case today.
Forgery – Laws & Penalties
You could be charged with forgery for altering or signing many different documents. However, generally California statute defines forgery as signing the name of another person or fictitious person, or forges the handwriting of another, with the intent to defraud on a document such as: check, bill of sale, travelers check, credit slip, promissory note, contract, receipt or settlement of debt.
Forgery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, a determination that will be made by the prosecutor. This decision is typically based on the amount of money involved and any prior convictions on your record. Typically if the amount is less than $200 and you have no prior convictions, it will be classified as a misdemeanor.
Forgery is punishable by up to one year in prison. If you defrauded someone of value or money in the process, they can also seek civil damages from you.
Bad checks, or writing checks on an account where you know there are not sufficient funds, can also be prosecuted under the forgery offense with civil damages possible as well.
Ref: California Forgery Laws – California Penal Code Section 470
CA Embezzlement Laws & Penalties
Embezzlement is considered a theft crime in California. If you are caught embezzling from your employer you will be charged with petty theft or grand theft depending on the amount of money in question.
Petty Theft: Reserved for values less than $400 and carries a potential sentence of up to 6 months in jail and fines.
Grand Theft: Reserved for values over $400 and punishable as a felony or misdemeanor with a potential sentence of up to 1 year in jail or prison and fines.
See my embezzlement page for more details.
Ref. California Penal Code Section 487, 490
California Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement Law
In what is called the “white collar embellishment”, a sentence can be greatly enhanced for a pattern of like felonies. This means that if you are facing a series of charges such as fraud and embezzlement and are convicted of at least two (or have two prior like convictions) your sentence may have an additional 2-5 years added to it.
Ref: CA Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement Law – California Penal Code Section 186.11
Stealing RFID Tags
It is illegal under California law to “skim”, steal, or download data from an RFID (radio frequency identification) device.
RFID chips are used in a host of consumer devices, from credit cards, ID cards, and keyless lock mechanisms for cars and office doors. They communicate data wirelessly to authenticate a wide variety of different transactions.
The penalty for this misdemeanor charge is up to 1 year in jail, and a $1500 fine, just for accessing and downloading the data in the RFID device.
In many cases, doing so is for purposes of fraud, theft, or other criminal violations, so other related offenses may also be brought in these cases.
Free Consultation on Forgery, Fraud or any Criminal Offense in CA
White Collar Crimes include many offenses. The laws surrounding these types of crimes include criminal and civil ramifications. For a true understanding of what your charges mean you should have your case evaluated by our experienced, dedicated attorneys.
Call us today for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. There is no obligation for our initial advice. Call now!