Orange County Fraud Defense Lawyer
Fraud has received a lot of media attention lately. High profile cases are splashed across the front pages of newspapers and are closely followed by broadcast and cable news shows. If you find yourself facing state or federal fraud charges, you need the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Having a legal representative can make all the difference in securing an acquittal or making a deal with prosecutors.
At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our Orange County white collar attorneys have years of experience defending clients against charges of fraud and other crimes in courtrooms in Orange County and across Southern California. They are dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcome for their clients and have the skill you will need when building an aggressive defense against your charges.
Call us today at (714) 530-9690 or Toll Free (888) 478-8999 to discuss your case and talk about your options.
Call us today to discuss your case in a free case evaluation!
Fraud is most simply defined as the use of misrepresentation or subterfuge for personal gain. For the most part, fraud cases that go to trial are monetary in nature, but they can also involve the transfer of property, authority, or official favors. Depending on the nature of the case, fraud can be a matter of state or federal law, so it is of primary importance to make sure that you have an attorney experienced with both.
Among the types of fraud charges frequently filed are the following:
- Insurance fraud
- Forgery / counterfeiting
- Tax fraud
- Medi-Cal / Medicare fraud
- Extortion / blackmail
- Identity theft
- Computer crimes
- Wire and mail fraud
Embezzlement is a rather complex form of fraud that involves the theft of property that is entrusted to a person by someone else, typically an employer. While the term is often used to refer to stealing money or similar financial resources, any property that is stolen through this method constitutes embezzlement. What sets this type of theft apart from many other forms, and makes it fraudulent, is that the property is often trusted with the person who takes it. Fraud is usually viewed as a type of theft, while theft does not necessarily have to involve fraud.
California Penal Code 503 defines it quite simply: "Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been intrusted." Within this definition there are two important elements, "fraudulent," which defines the action as a form of fraud, and "property," which establishes it as theft. That is why there is some overlap regarding how embezzlement is handled and how it is viewed regarding fraud and theft. The trust is also a key element, which is why embezzlement is a very different form of theft from something like robbery.
In general, according to Penal Code 514, when a person is convicted of embezzlement, the sentence is the same as a theft conviction for the same property, either grand or petty depending on value. There are certain additional factors that can set embezzlement apart from some other forms of theft. If the person convicted held a public office, then he or she is ineligible of holding public office in California again in the future. Also, if the funds or property stolen through the embezzlement were publicly owned by any level of government, then the punishment is served in state prison.
It is also worth noting that California Penal Code 515 establishes additional enhancements for fraud and embezzlement against the elderly. Embezzlement against an elder or dependant person constitutes an aggravated charge and can result in harsher sentences and penalties. This sets embezzlement apart from petty theft and similar crimes, since the elderly are often targeted for fraud.
Although fraud charges generally do not bear as lengthy of prison sentences as violent crimes, people charged with fraud are often charged with multiple counts that, if convicted, can lead to a long time spent in prison or on probation. Other punishments include heavy fines, house arrest, and loss of professional licenses. Businesses charged with fraud can face steep fines and restitution if found guilty.
A conviction for fraud is extremely damaging—it can shatter a reputation that took a lifetime to build, branding you as a thief and a liar. Like other white collar crimes, having a fraud conviction on your record makes you a less attractive prospect to lenders and employers in the future, severely limiting the opportunities you will need to rebuild your life and your reputation.
"One afternoon several cops raid my office’s files threatening to take me to jail. Attorney Michael L. Guisti worked very quickly to show the court that never at anytime did I or my office commit any fraud. Thank you so much Michael L. Guisti for all your hard work and protecting our reputation. Other businesses I know that get into trouble I give them Law Office of Michael L. Guisti’s phone number, because he knows what needs to be done to protect your business and reputation."
The answer depends on the specifics of your case, but depending on your situation there may be a chance to have it expunged. This effectively removes the conviction from your record for most situations. Expunging a felony fraud conviction allows you to honestly tell future employers that you have no convictions for a felony, since expunging the conviction clears your record.
If your fraud conviction was a felony, then you may want to file to have it reduced to a misdemeanor under California Penal Code 17(b). This is not strictly necessary, but can help your case for expunging the conviction going forward. In order to expunge your conviction you must not have served time in a state prison, though county jail is fine, and you must not have any pending charges against you. You can file to have your conviction expunged after finishing probation, or even file to have your probation reduced and to expunge the conviction while you are still serving probation. No matter what your situation, you should contact an experienced California lawyer to help you file and work with you to try to get your conviction expunged.
If you are successful, then your criminal record is effectively cleared of your conviction. It cannot be used against you for any future situations in which a pre-existing conviction is required for a certain charge against you. If you have a felony conviction expunged, it may still come up if you apply for certain licenses or try to obtain work with a law enforcement agency or other government organization. Otherwise, however, expunging a fraud conviction allows you to tell future prospective employers that you do not have a felony conviction.
It is not just your freedom or your money that is on the line when you are facing fraud charges—it is your reputation and your future. That's why you need the best possible legal defense. Remember that in our legal system, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. When you hire Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, you are hiring a lawyer who can help you understand the law and build a strategy for your defense.
They can offer the benefit of the skills and knowledge they have acquired in their years of courtroom experience, as well as a dedicated support staff to keep them up to date with the latest developments in recent case law that might affect your case. Our Orange County defense attorneys are available to answer any questions that you might have and advise you on every step of the investigation and trial. We are dedicated to helping our clients through a difficult time and make their peace of mind our top priority.
If you have been charged with state or federal fraud charges, do not hesitate to contact our firm. At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, every case receives personal attention, so call (714) 530-9690 for a free consult.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.