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White Collar Crime -

       There are many types of white collar crime in California, including but not limited to bank fraud, bribery, check fraud, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, and identity theft.

Bank Fraud

       Bank fraud would consist of any type of fraud committed against a bank or its customer. It can take many different forms, including unauthorized online access to accounts. One common form of bank fraud involves the criminal issuing a bad check for the victim to deposit. The victim is then instructed to issue a smaller check to the criminal thus allowing the victim to "keep" the difference as a fee for the handling of the deposit.In fact, the check is no good so the deposit will be returned. Meanwhile, the victim has already issued the smaller amount in good money to the criminal.

Check Fraud

       Check fraud involves the writing of a check with insufficient funds with an intent to defraud. If the total amount of all the checks is $200 or less, it is a misdemeanor; otherwise, it is a felony.

Identity Theft

       Identity theft is when a person obtains another person's identifying information and using that information for any unlawful purpose, including the obtaining of goods, credit, services or medical information. This is truly one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and California. Tips for Victims can be found at the web site for the Office of the Attorney General.


       Bribery is the giving or offering to give something of value or an advantage to any judicial officer, juror, referee, arbitrator, or umpire. It is a felony punishable by 2, 3 or 4 years in prison.A bribery to an executive officer is also a felony punishable in the same manner. Offering a bribe to a public officer or employee is a misdemeanor if the value of the offering is $400 or less; otherwise, it is a felony.


       Embezzlement is defined as the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted. The person may be an escrow agent, attorney, trustee, administrator, executor, collector or other person who has been entrusted with the control of the money. Another example of the violation of this provision would be a general contractor who does not use the contract payments in order to pay the laborers and materialmen for the work performed or material furnished. If the amount involved is over $400, then it is a felony; otherwise, it is a misdemeanor.


       Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his/her consent that resulted from the wrongful use of force or fear. The force can be a threat to do injury to the other person or their property or to accuse the other person or a member of his/her family or s crime or to threaten to expose them or impute to them some disgrace or crime or to expose any secret affecting the other person. It is a felony punishable by 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison.


       Forgery is when a person, with the intent to defraud, knowing that he/she has no authority to do so, signs the name of another person or a fictitious person to any check, note, cashier's check, traveler's check, money order, lottery ticket power of attorney, share certificate or similar instrument. Generally it is a felony punishable by 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in prison.

       In addition, Individual states may have sentencing guide lines in their penal code that differ from state to state. Visit your individual state web site and search "penal code your state" for more information.

- Written by , Attorney at Law





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