Criminal Defense Law Firm Protecting the Legal Rights of People Charged with a White Collar Case
Although it is common to think that crime is mostly violent, there are non-violent types of crime that people commit. Nonviolent types of crime are commonly known as white collar crimes, and are usually committed by people who are in a special position of power to commit such crimes.
White collar crimes in Los Angeles County may be charged by both California state and Federal government. Consequently, in California white collar crimes are prosecuted by the Federal Government, the District Attorney's Office, and the local prosecutor's office.
However, in the past several years, California state has paid special attention to white collar crimes being committed and has come down on such crimes with great force. If you are under criminal investigation, you should contact a Los Angeles white collar crime attorney at our law firm to review your case and discuss your legal options. One way to resolve a criminal case in California State courts is through a diversion program, known as deferred entry of judgment, which allows get you charges dismissed with no conviction.
We have a record of success and know how to develop an effective defense strategy against any type of fraud related crime. We can help you decide whether to accept a plea bargain in your case. We understand the most common defenses in California criminal cases.
White collar crimes in California can include: money laundering, ponzi schemes, counterfeiting, embezzlement, extortion, mail fraud, wire fraud, computer crimes, forgery, financial fraud, real estate fraud, false financial statement, tax evasion, RICO, insurance fraud, perjury, among others.
Complex Criminal Cases
Although white collar crimes in Los Angeles are charged just like any other crimes and trigger the same types of legal defenses and protections as in other cases, the legal principles and theories of white collar crimes are much more complex due to the amount of evidence presented in the case.
Many times suspects accused of white collar crimes will be subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury. However, usually, prosecution's case relies mostly on what is said in suspect's or witnesses' statements, or what can be recovered from gathered documents.
Therefore, it is overly important to consult with experienced Los Angeles white collar crime lawyers, knowledgeable in these type of crimes; so, as to be advised regarding your constitutional rights and the consequences of white collar crimes allegations. If arrested, there is a good chance you will have to appear for an arraignment, which is the first court appearance. The white collar defense attorneys at Eisner, Gorin LLP have the experience and will do their best to fight for your rights and do everything possible in their power to reach the best outcome in your case.See related information: Search Warrants Laws in California.
Common White Collar Crimes in Los Angeles
California Penal Code 115: Filing a False or Forged Document California Penal Code 118: Perjury California Penal Code 154: Fraudulent Conveyance California Penal Code 424: Misappropriation of Public Funds California Penal Code 470: Forgery California Penal Code 476(a): Passing Bad Checks California Penal Code 484g - Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card California Penal Code 484h - Credit Card Fraud by Retailer California Penal Code 484i: Counterfeiting Credit Cards California Penal Code 503: Embezzlement California Penal Code 504: Embezzlement by a Public Official Calofornia Penal Code 529: False Impersonation California Penal Code 531 - Participating in a Fraudulent Conveyance California Penal Code 532: Theft by False Pretenses California Penal Code 532f: Mortgage Fraud California Penal Code 548: Damage or Abandon a Vehicle for Auto Insurance Fraud Californa Penal Code 550 - Submitting Fraudulent Insurance Claims California Penal Code 548-551: Auto Insurance Fraud California Penal Code 550(a): Health Care Fraud California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101: Unemployment Insurance Fraud California Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 - Welfare Fraud California Insurance Code 1871.4: Workers' Compensation Fraud California Business and Professions Code 17511.9 - Telemarketing Fraud
Embezzlement - California Penal Code 503
The prosecution needs to be able to prove each and every one of the elements of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted at trial. If the prosecution cannot prove even just one element beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury is required by law to find a not guilty verdict. It is for this reason that an understanding of all of the elements of an offense is critical to preparing a defense for your case.
For the crime of embezzlement in Los Angeles, the elements are: (1) There was a relationship of trust between you and another person; AND (2) That other person entrusted you with some property; AND (3) You used that property for your own ends with the specific intent to deprive that person of his or her property.
Embezzlement cases often occur in employment contexts in which an employee, for example, is entrusted with a company's credit card but then uses that credit card for his or her own personal expenses. Federal embezzlement laws target theft from the federal government.
Also, federal laws cover theft of property that is owned by a private entity but, pursuant to a contract, the government has paid for it. For example, accounting employee taking money from a federal scholarship fund; could be charged with embezzlement under federal laws. Speak with your Los Angeles while collar crime defense lawyer to review the details of your case.
Embezzlement is punished as a grand theft offense if the amount involved was over $950 or a petty theft offense if the amount involved was under $950. If it is charged as a petty theft, it is always a misdemeanor and the maximum penalty is up to six months in County jail.
If it is charged as grand theft, it is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the prosecutor's choice. If it is a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is up to one year in County jail. If it is a felony, the maximum penalty is three years incarceration.
Available defenses always depend on the facts of the case. It can be argued by an experienced Los Angeles white collar crime defense attorney that you had a good reason to believe that you were entitled to use the other person's property or money as used.
For example, if you had a company credit card and thought you could use it to purchase a new laptop computer, but in fact did not have the authorization for that purchase, that would still not qualify as embezzlement. A defense lawyer can also argue that you did not have the intent to permanently deprive the other person of their property. An attorney could even argue the police arrested the wrong person.
Extortion - California Penal Code 518
For the crime of extortion in Los Angeles, the elements are: (1) You obtained property from another person; (2) The other person willingly gave over the property; (3) The other person did so willingly only because force or fear was used (4) You used force or fear with the specific intent to get the other person to give up his or her property
Penal Code 518 lists what type of threats can qualify for fear-induced extortion: (1) Harm a person or property; (2) Accuse a person of a crime; (3) Disclose or allege a deformity, disgrace or crime; (4) Disclose a secret; or (5) Report to law enforcement a person's immigration status.
Extortion cases often involve a threat of either physical violence or a threat to ruin a person's reputation by disclosing a secret unless the other person pays the extortioner off. One case could involve a person who tells a cheating spouse that the other spouse will be informed of the affair if the cheating spouse does not pay up. See related: Bribery of a Witness Laws in California.
Extortion is a felony criminal offense. The maximum penalty is four years incarceration. Available defenses by our Los Angeles white collar crime lawyers always depend on the facts of the case. A defense attorney can argue that you never made such a threat or that you did not have the actual intent for the other person to give up his or her property.
Health Care Fraud - California Penal Code 550
For the crime of Health Care Fraud in Los Angeles, the elements are: (1) You directly or assisted someone or asked someone or agreed with someone to: (a) Submit a claim that you knew to be false or fraudulent for payment on a health care benefit; OR (b) Knowingly submit a health care benefit claim that you or the claimant did not use; OR (c) Knowingly submit multiple claims for the same health care benefit; OR (d) Knowingly submit undercharges for benefits unless overcharges are presented simultaneously;AND (2) You had the specific intent to defraud.
A health care fraud claim can arise if you submit a claim that states you purchased a wheelchair to get around but in fact never did so. A health care fraud claim can also arise when a doctor submits false claims to a medical insurance company on behalf of claimants.
If the amount involved in the fraud was over $950, this can be a misdemeanor or felony crime. If it is a felony, it carries a maximum penalty of five years incarceration and up to $50,000 in fines, or twice the amount of the fraud, whichever amount is higher, or both incarceration and the fine.
If it is a misdemeanor, it carries a maximum penalty of one year in county jail and up to a $10,000 fine, or both. If the amount involved in the fraud was less than $950, it is always a misdemeanor and has a maximum penalty of six months in County jail, or a $1,000, or both, although that fine can increase if there are multiple charges.
There are a couple main ways of attacking a health care fraud case by a Los Angeles white collar defense lawyer at our law firm. Our attorneys could demonstrate that the documents were not fraudulent, demonstrating that you did not know the documents were fraudulent, or demonstrating that you did not have the specific intent to defraud.
If, for example, you incorrectly filled out a document that you submitted to an insurance company, you did not know at the time the document was fraudulent and you did not have the specific intent to defraud. If you submitted claims to multiple insurance companies, that fact alone does not demonstrate that you intended to defraud them if you just believed that you were following procedure.
Fraud by Medical Professionals
There has been a significant increase in Medical insurance fraud prosecutions of physicians. In many cases Medi-Cal fraud and Denti-Cal insurance fraud resulted in prison terms for doctors and dentists who have been convicted of these crimes. Chiropractors have also been targeted for prosecution resulting from allegations of false or misleading billing.
These crimes are prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office, the District Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office. Such prosecutions usually begin when a search warrant is issued for documents from the professional offices of the doctor, dentist or chiropractor. Therefore, it is important to talk to an experienced Los Angeles white collar crime attorney right away.
Insurance Fraud & Auto Insurance Fraud - California PC 550
For the crime of insurance fraud and auto insurance fraud in Los Angeles, the elements are: (1) You directly or assisted someone or asked someone or agreed with someone to: (a) Submit a claim that you knew to be false or fraudulent for payment on an injury or loss; OR (b) Submit multiple claims to different insurance companies for the same injury or loss; OR (c) Intentionally cause car accident in order to submit a claim that was false or fraudulent; OR (d) Submit a claim that you knew to be false or fraudulent about a theft or damage to or destruction of a vehicle or vehicle part; OR (e) Prepare a piece of writing that you knew would be used to support a claim that was false or fraudulent; AND (2) You had the specific intent to defraud.
An insurance fraud case in Los Angeles County can occur in a number of different scenarios. It could arise from submitting false paperwork that your vehicle suffered a certain amount of damage and required that you spend a certain amount of money to fix. Or it could arise from claiming to insurance that a laptop was stolen from your vehicle, when in fact no such event occurred.
This is a felony offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years incarceration and up to $50,000 in fines, or twice the amount of the fraud, whichever amount is higher.
There are some legal defenses to attack a case of insurance fraud by a Los Angeles white collar crime defense attorney. A lawyer might be able to show the documents were not fraudulent or you were not aware they were fraudulent. A defense lawyer might be able to prove you did not have a specific intent to defraud by showing the court you incorrectly filled out a document that you submitted to an insurance company.
Forgery - California Penal Code 470
For the crime of forgery in Los Angeles, the elements differ depending on the type of forgery. Accordingly, below are different sets of elements for the different types:
Signing with Someone Else's Name or a Fake Name: (1) You singed with another person's name or a fake name the particular document; AND (2) The other person did not give you authority to use his or her name; AND (3) You knew the other person did not give you authority to use his or her name; AND (4) You had the specific intent to defraud.
Counterfeit / Forging a Seal: (1) You counterfeited or forged the seal or imitated someone else's handwriting; AND (2) You had the specific intent to defraud.
Falsifying a Legal Document: (1) You modified or falsified a legal document (such as a will, etc.); AND (2) You had the specific intent to defraud.
Falsifying a Notary Public Acknowledgment: (1) You either falsified a notary public acknowledgment or a notary public issued a false acknowledgment knowingly; AND (2) You had the specific intent to defraud.
Common forgery scenarios are: Filling out and signing someone else's check without their authority; Editing someone else's will without their knowledge; Using a fake name when signing up for a bank account; Using a fake notary public acknowledgment stamp on your own documents. Consult with a white collar crime attorney in Los Angeles to review your case to determine the best legal defenses.
A Forgery case is called a “wobbler,” meaning that the prosecutor's have discretion to file it either as a misdemeanor or a felony. If it is charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is one year in County jail and fines. If it is charged as a felony, the maximum penalty is up to three years incarceration.
Available defenses by a Los Angeles white collar crime attorney always depend on the facts of the case and the nature of the forgery. Arguments by an experienced lawyer include that you actually did have the necessary authorization to sign a name or modify a legal document. An attorney can also argue that you did not have the specific intent to defraud.
Consult a Los Angeles White Collar Crime Attorney
As these are serious offenses with high prison sentences, it is highly recommended that you consult with a Los Angeles white collar crime defense lawyer at our law firm as soon as you are aware of an investigation into you or charges have been filed against you.
Our experienced attorneys are prepared to start building a strong defense strategy on your behalf. A criminal conviction can be a life-changing event. We have extensive experience representing clients at the sentencing hearing. Over our decades of criminal law practice, our Los Angeles white collar crime attorneys have obtained tremendous results against any type of offense. Call our lawyers for a free immediate response.