Fraud Charges are very serious, especially in Los Angeles, CA. If you or a loved one has been charged with fraud, you should immediately contact an experienced Los Angeles Fraud Attorney to represent you and protect your legal rights. Our experienced fraud attorneys are here to help 24/7. H Law Group serves Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Diego County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County. Our attorneys know that people who are accused of fraud are often good people who need to support their families, as such, let the H Law Group protect your legal rights and fight for you in court.
Fraud typically involves using some sort of deceit to acquire money or property from another person. For example, if you sign another person’s name to a legal document, check, or financial document with the intent to defraud that person out of his money or property. To convict you of fraud, the prosecution only needs to show that you intended to defraud someone and not that you actually defrauded someone, and whether you repaid your victim does not matter when it comes to convicting you for fraud. Fraud comes in a variety of flavors, but no matter the type of fraud you’re accused of committing, we will fight for you throughout the criminal process.
In California, an individual who uses deceit to obtain money, property, or labor is guilty of fraud. Fraud is different from larceny in that an individual uses some sort of deceit or lie to convince the owner of property or money to consensually handover the property. For example, if you want to purchase a laptop from someone and you tell them that you will pay them by check as soon as you receive the laptop when you intended to accept the laptop but never pay them, you’re likely to be found guilty for fraud. This is so because you used deceit to obtain the property of another person.
To prove that you committed fraud, the prosecution must show that you intended to permanently deprive the person of the property or money that he gave to you. So, going back to our previous example, if you intended to only use the laptop for a small period of time and return it, you probably didn’t have the intent to permanently deprive and with a good lawyer, you won’t be guilty of committing fraud.
For the prosecution to prove that you committed fraud, it must show that the alleged victim intended to transfer title of the property to you and not mere possession. So, for example, if your friend lends you his laptop for you to use and return, but you intent and do keep the laptop, this is not fraud because the alleged victim never intended to transfer possession of the laptop to you. That said, the prosecution may still be able to convict you of theft by trick.
We will now explore a few of the best defenses that your attorney can use to prove that you’re not guilty of fraud.
If the facts of your case support it, your attorney may be able to argue that the statements you made were not false and therefore, you did not commit fraud. Also, if you gave your opinion on the subject and your opinion turned out to be wrong and the alleged victim relied on your opinion, you may be able to argue that it was merely your honest opinion even though it turned out to be wrong, you shouldn’t be liable for fraud.
Also, your attorney may be able to argue that you did not have the requisite intent to commit fraud. To prove fraud, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intent to permanently deprive another person of property or money permanently, so if you or your attorney can show that you did not have the intent to permanently deprive another of his property, you may be able to have the charges against you dismissed.
Entrapment can be used as a defense if you can show that you did not intend to commit a crime until the government intervened and compelled you to commit a crime. That said, if the government simply provided you with an opportunity to commit a crime but you did not, this is not sufficient to show entrapment. If the facts of your case support this defense, your attorney will surely use it in your favor.
Another defense that your attorney may be able to use to defend you is a mistake of fact defense. To use this defense, your attorney will have to show that you had a legitimate and reasonable belief in the pretense that the prosecution is claiming is false. If your attorney is able to show that you had an honest, yet mistaken belief in its truthfulness, this shows that you did not intend to deceive and that you did not intentionally make a false statement. If this defense is successful, your attorney may be able to have the charges against dismissed or bargain for a good plea deal.
The punishment for fraud depends on the value of the property obtained by an individual’s fraud. If the value of the property involved is $950 or less, the prosecution typically brings misdemeanor fraud charges, if convicted, the maximum penalty of fraud (theft by false pretenses) is six (6) months in county jail, hefty court fines, and restitution. That said, if the value of the property at issue exceeds $950, the prosecution can bring felony fraud charges. If convicted of felony fraud charges, an individual can be sent to California State Prison for a maximum of three (3) years, and have to pay hefty court fines and restitution. Being convicted of theft shows that a person is not of good moral character, and depending on the field of work that you’re in, having that conviction could cause you to lose your job, and make it very difficult for you to find a job. In short, fraud (theft by false pretenses) is a wobbler, meaning the prosecutor has the discretion to charge the case as either a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the circumstances of the fraud.
So, if you or a loved one has been convicted of fraud in Los Angeles or Orange County, CA, you should immediately contact the H Law Group. We are home to experienced and best Los Angeles Fraud Lawyers. So, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being charged with fraud, please contact us for a free consultation.