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Did Major League Baseball Purchase Stolen Property? (California Penal Code Section 496)

It was recently reported that Major League Baseball (MLB) knowingly purchased stolen documents relating to Alex Rodriguez’s involvement with Biogenesis, the Florida health clinic accused of supplying Rodriguez and other baseball players with performance enhancing drugs. It is alleged that MLB ignored repeated warnings that the documents were stolen.canstockphoto11600628.jpg

In a report published by the Boca Raton Police Department, Porter Fischer, a former Biogenesis employee, obtained documents relating to Rodriguez’s use of performance enhancing drugs. Fischer was in contact with MLB about the documents but stopped speaking to the league before it could get the documents from him.

MLB allegedly eventually purchased the documents from Gary Jones, whose friend was arrested for breaking into Fischer’s car. The report states MLB paid $125,000 for the documents. MLB has denied any knowledge that the documents were stolen.

Buying Stolen Property (California Penal Code Section 496)

Under California Penal Code Section 496, it is illegal to buy, sell, receive, conceal or withhold property which you know to be stolen. In order to be convicted of buying stolen property, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did the following:

  1. You bought, sold, aided in selling, received, concealed, aided in concealing, withheld or aided in withholding property that was stolen or obtained by extortion from its owner;
  2. When you bought, sold, aided in selling, received, concealed, aided in concealing, withheld or aided in withholding property from its owner, you knew or reasonably should have known that the property had been stolen or obtained by extortion; AND
  3. You actually knew of the presence of the property.

Punishment if You are Convicted for Receiving Stolen Property

Depending on the circumstances of your case and your criminal history, receiving stolen property can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Receiving stolen property will likely be charged as a misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950. A misdemeanor receiving stolen property conviction is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

If the value of the stolen property exceeds $950, you can be charged with a felony. A conviction is punishable by 16 months, two or three years in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

If the stolen property was a car, trailer, construction equipment or boat, you face an enhanced sentence under California Penal Code Section 496(d). In addition to county jail time and fines, a misdemeanor conviction carries an additional fine of up to $1,000. A felony conviction carries an additional fine of up to $10,000.

Under California Penal Code Section 496, victims may also sue for civil penalties. Victims who were injured by a stolen property crime can collect up to three times the amount of their property lost as well as attorney’s fees and court costs.

Call Wallin & Klarich if You are Charged with Receiving Stolen Property

If you or a loved one is facing charges of receiving stolen property, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending persons charged with receiving stolen property. Our attorneys have the skill and knowledge necessary to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.