Many people do not realize that fraud is classified as Los Angeles theft under the California criminal code. There are many different ways a person commits fraud, one being obtaining money through false pretenses. What many people don’t realize is that their actions give rise to fraud, resulting in a theft charge.
For example, we had a recent case in which a girl was working in the financial aid office of her college. She had the responsibility of receiving tuition payments from students and directing them towards their account. However, she was allocating them into her own and paying her tuition. This is a form of theft, since she was not given the money for her own expenses, and she was falsely diverting the funds for purposes that they were not intended for.
Many more common incidents of fraud are scams in which people gather money for a charity that does not exist, or money is not donated to the charity. If someone went door to door asking people to donate to the Cancer Association, but used the money for their own expenses, the actions would amount to fraud.
Similarly, certain companies promise to provide help or a service but so not follow through. For example, let’s say a company came to your home and offered to paint your address on the sidewalk for a small fee and you agreed. You pay them the money, and they never come back to paint the address. The company is guilty of fraud and will be charged under the theft statute.
It will also result in fraud if the person does complete the job they have been paid to do, but does it in a manner that is not what the payee was paying for. Lets hypothesize that there is a company that says they will come pave your driveway for you at a discounted price. You agree and the workers come and pave your driveway with black asphalt. It seems to be acceptable, you have paid for a job that the workers completed. However, within a few days the “asphalt” comes off and you are left with the same driveway you had prior to hiring the company and the workers are nowhere to be found. This is a form of fraud, and the workers can be charged.
Theft offenses are serious charges under the California Penal Code and if convicted will result in serious consequences including fines, jail time and probation. A Los Angeles Theft attorney can explain the extensive theft section of the criminal code to you and discuss available defenses and options. Many cases may be reduced or dismissed with the help of strong defenses and a powerful argument made on behalf of the person being charged. With so many different ways a person can be charged with theft, there is little room to risk a permanent mark on your record. Seek the help of a professional who can guide you through this stressful process.