Articles Posted in Fraud/Forgery

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You might not think lying about who you are is a big deal, but in California you can get into trouble if you falsely identify yourself in several ways. Simply lying to a police officer, and/or telling him or her that you are somebody else could get you arrested for committing a misdemeanor. Using a fake ID can lead to even more trouble.

If you manufacture, display, or possess a fake ID with the intent to commit forgery, you could be charged with a felony, depending on the circumstances.

Below are some of the more frequent ways you can get into trouble for misuse of and ID card.

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If you are going through a complex legal process, it is important that you choose an attorney who you can trust. One way to ensure your attorney is trustworthy is to do online research. The clients of Eric Phillips at Georggin Law failed to verify Phillips status as a lawyer and got burned by a man who is now facing 20 years in prison for committing fraud.

Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have top ratings on Avvo and Lawyers.com by Martindale-Hubbell. We are always available to our clients via phone, email or even social media. When you put your trust in Wallin & Klarich, you can rest assured that your case is in very capable hands.

Eric Phillips and Georggin Law

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Penal Code Sections 368(d) and (e) (PC 368(d)-(e).) state that anyone who steals, embezzles, defrauds or forges documents pertaining to an elderly or dependent adult, or who commits an act of identity theft against that person, who knows or reasonably should know that person is elderly or dependent, is guilty of a crime. You risk jail or prison time and hefty fines if you are convicted of a violation of PC 368(d)-(e).

However, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich want you to understand that the prosecution must prove every element of a crime in order to convict you. In the following case, the defendant had his conviction for violating PC 368(d) reversed because he was able to demonstrate on appeal that the element of intent was not firmly established during his trial.

People v. Neasham, A134873 (Cal. Ct. App. 2013)

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California strongly protects its citizens from individuals who fraudulently write bad checks. A bad check occurs when a person writes a check to a person or a company (such as a utility) knowing that there are insufficient funds to cover the amount of the check, or if the drawer stops payment after writing the check. Often time, people innocently stop payment on a check for a variety of reasons; however, this conduct is prohibited by law.

In order to be convicted for the crime of writing a bad check the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that at the time you wrote the check, either acting on behalf of yourself or as an agent to another, there was a lack of sufficient funds to cover full payment of the check. The prosecution must also show that you were aware of the insufficient funds at the time and that you acted with the intent to commit fraud.

California Penal Code Section 476a stated that writing a check while knowing that funds are insufficient can be charged as a misdemeanor offense that can be punished with a sentence of up to one year in county jail. In some cases, if the value exceeds $950, this offense can also be filed as a felony with a sentence of up to three years in state prison.

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blank checkIn California, under Penal Code section 470 every person who, with the intent to defraud, knowing that he or she has no authority to do so, signs the name of another person or of a fictitious person is guilty of forgery. Moreover, a person may be charged with forgery for intending to defraud someone by knowingly giving them a false check or other financial document, counterfeit money, a false lottery ticket, forged legal documents, a false driver’s license or identification, or by writing a bad check. Under the law, it does not matter whether the alleged victim was actually defrauded. It also does not matter whether the accused later paid back the alleged victim or made other restitution.

It is critical, however, that the prosecution must prove that the accused intended to defraud another person. Someone intends to defraud when he or she intends to deceive another person, or intends to cause a loss of money, goods, or something else of value. An individual accused of passing a bad check is eligible to enter a bad check diversion program instead of serving jail time. Depending on the circumstances of each case, other types of forgery can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony conviction carries prison time, whereas a misdemeanor carries up to a year in county jail. If the alleged forged check involved less than $950, a person will be charged with a misdemeanor offense of forgery.

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blank checkA former partner of Morrison & Foerster (MoFo), a prestigious law firm based in San Francisco, and his wife pleaded “not guilty” to felony charges in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud the San Francisco Unified School District, the firm and its health insurance provider out of nearly $400,000 in fraudulent services for their autistic son.

Jonathan Dickstein and his wife Barclay Lynn, both 43-years-old, have been charged with 31 felony counts including grand theft, forgery, insurance fraud, and conspiracy. The prosecution alleges that between 2006 and 2008, the couple set up a fraudulent education company called “Puzzle Pieces” that they used to double-bill the school district and Morrison & Foerster’s then health insurance provider Blue Cross for their son’s in-home autism care. By billing both entities for the same services, the prosecution alleged that the scheme allowed the couple to pocket approximately $100,000 per year.

Dickstein had been a prominent life science attorney for Morrsion & Foerster since he joined the firm in 1999. He resigned from the firm roughly five months ago. Both Dickstein and Lynn are now out on bail after posting $100,000 each. The case is scheduled to return to court in early October.

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Many people do not realize that writing a bad check is a serious crime. You may write a bad check because it was a mistake, or you may have thought you could get away with writing a bad check for cheap item. However, if you write a bounced check in California, you could be criminally prosecuted.

Under California Penal Code Section 476(a), it is a crime to write a check knowing that you have insufficient funds and the intent to defraud. That is why you need to speak with an experienced bad check attorney immediately if you are accused of writing a bad check.

Defenses to Writing a Bad Check

Writing a bad check CaliforniaIf the prosecution can prove that you knowingly wrote a bad check with the intent to deceive another person out of money or property, you can be convicted of writing a bad check under PC 476(a). This crime does not require proof that you fabricated a false check or wrote false information. The crime is completed the minute you knowingly write a check for an amount you did not actually have.

A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can raise certain defenses on your behalf to help you defeat these charges. Depending on the facts of your case, a defense attorney can argue that you did not have the necessary intent to defraud because you reasonably believed that there would be sufficient funds to pay for the check amount.

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On May 7, 2010, it was reported that the Chula Vista District Attorney’s Office is reviewing a complaint that Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano wrote fraudulent checks on a private security firm’s account that he co-owns. Chula Vista, home of one of the few year-round United State Olympic Training Centers, is the second largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area, as well as the 7th largest city in Southern California. It is found in the South Bay region of San Diego County, and is located just 7 miles from downtown San Diego, and 7 miles from the Mexican border.

In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. With this definition in mind, check fraud refers to a category of criminal acts that involve making the unlawful use of checks in order to illegally acquire funds that do not exist within the defrauder’s legal ownership. As fraud can be committed through many media (mail, wire, phone, or even the internet), and because fraud has many elements to prove, it is easy to see how many people may be confused when trying to understand the evidence being used against them when they are being charged with a crime such as this.

Unfortunately, many Californians are falsely accused of this very serious offense every day. False accusations can cause irreparable harm to one’s life. The good news is that skilled Chula Vista fraud defense lawyers know the most effective strategies to expose false allegations, and to protect their client’s rights. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable and aggressive Chula Vista criminal defense attorneys have been defending the rights of those accused of fraud offenses for over 30 years. If you, or a loved one, are being accused of a fraud crime, the time to act is now. Call Wallin & Klarich at 888-280-6839, or visit www.wklaw.com for more information about how we can help you with your case.

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The office of the attorney general has published a page on its website dedicated to those who are victims, or suspect they may be victims, of identity theft. Identity theft is currently among the fastest growing crimes in America. It affected approximately 10 million victims in 2008 (a 22% increase from 2007). During these hard economic times, it is vital that each individual protect their financial resources. A large part of doing so is protecting their identity from being duplicated by unscrupulous individuals who might venture to defraud banks and financial institutions in their name.

The attorney general suggests that one of the first things you do if you are a victim of identity theft is to contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus and report that your identity has been stolen. Ask that a “fraud alert” be placed in your file. Police reports should also be filed with local police or with the police where the theft occurred. Getting a copy of the police report and retaining it for your records is also very important.

Once the proper authorities have been identified, it is time to begin the process of contacting all of your creditors. Accounts that have been compromised and have fraudulent charges should be closed. Most creditors now have fraud and identity theft departments. Informing these departments of your situation and providing them with copies of your police reports is very important. Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills and report immediately any new fraudulent activity to credit grantors.

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Orange County Couple is Arrested in State’s Biggest Fraud Case Ever, and Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

A Laguna Hills couple has been arrested on charges of alleged fraud in California of nearly $30 million in insurance premiums. 50-year-old Michael Vincent Petronella and his 44-year-old wife Devon Lynn Kile are facing 106 felony counts including conspiracy, insurance fraud, tax charges and theft and are facing up to 102 years in prison.

The couple was arrested after a three year investigation concluded last week as authorities confiscated $500,000 worth of jewelry, $51,000 in cash and “an application to the ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ reality show.” The couple owns a roofing company, among other businesses, and have allegedly been misreporting their employees’ injuries and falsifying papers for uninsured workers that were injured.

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.