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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in fraud

California defense attorney, California white collar lawsFirst provided a definition in 1939, white-collar crime has evolved to cover a wide range of fraud schemes. Mention the act and perhaps Martha Stewart or Bernard Madoff may come to mind.

In 2001, Ms. Stewart was found guilty of four counts related to her obstruction of a government investigation into the sale of ImClone Systems, Inc. stock. Although criminal charges of insider trading were not entered, Ms. Stewart was charged and prosecuted for lying about the reason for her sale of stock.

Fast forward to 2009 and perhaps one of the most notorious white-collar crimes ever. Bernie Madoff, known as a Wall Street pioneer, orchestrated the largest financial swindle in American history and knowingly admitted to his sons that his entire business was a masterful Ponzi scheme. His white-collar deception financially destroyed rich and poor alike and he is currently serving a 150-year sentence in a federal prison.

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Posted on in California Laws

California defense attorney, California criminal lawyerWhile incidents of theft do not often make the front page news, theft is still one of the most common misdemeanors that occurs in the United States every year. There are actually several different types of theft, all that ladder up to the blanket charge, though each type may carry different punishments and sentencing, based on the severity of the crime, the circumstances, and the person’s past record.

The most basic type of theft is also known as larceny. This is defined as the unlawful taking of property that does not belong to the person in question — that is, taking something from another person or entity without that person’s permission, or with the intent of that person not knowing. The vast majority of theft cases are considered larceny. The law defines “another entity” as either a person or a place. Simple shoplifting is considered larceny, for example. If the value of the stolen item is considerable, the charge may be elevated to grand theft, which will result in more severe punishments. Grand theft auto is larceny of a moving vehicle.

Identity theft is another common type of theft — the rate of which is continually increasing as personal information, usually stored online, becomes easier and easier to obtain. Using anyone’s personal information, including a credit card number or debit card at an ATM, is considered identity theft, if the other person did not grant express permission to do so. Because identity theft can be so damaging to the victim, charges of identity theft are sometimes considered a federal crime. This can result in long jail sentences and the confiscation of any property allegedly obtained with stolen funds.

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criminal identity theft, San Jose criminal defense attorneyIdentity theft is one of the most common types of fraud committed in the United States. More than 15 million American residents have their identities stolen every year, costing the country—at either the state or federal level—up to $50 billion annually. There are some things that a person can do to combat identity theft, or to deal with it once it occurs. The first step to overcoming identity theft is to file a police report. To aid with this, a victim may also need to fill out a Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Affidavit. If the identity theft has occurred through another government agency, such as via the theft of sensitive mail delivered by the United States Postal Service, a victim may also need to fill out an identity theft report with the USPS.

One particularly devastating type of identity theft is known as criminal identity theft, in which a person is held accountable for a crime that he or she did not commit because the perpetrator used a stolen identity at the time of arrest. This can happen more easily than you think—all a criminal needs to do is to give a law enforcement officer a stolen driver’s license or Social Security when he or she is detained on suspicion of a crime. While it may seem simple to rectify this situation of mistaken identity, once the process has begun, it can be very difficult to slow or change it.

Because this information is then recorded in both the state and federal criminal records databases, it can have long lasting effects that are seemingly irreversible. The scariest part of criminal identity theft is that there is little one can do to address it without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Even after a person has proved his innocence by submitting fingerprints or photographic proof, he or she may still face charges or even spend unnecessary time in jail because this information is on record. His or her name may trigger an alarm when buying gas at a gas station, or if pulled over for speeding. Red tape in the law enforcement system requires officers to arrest the individual before they are able to access the proper identifying information.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_identity-theft-fraud-electronic-theft.jpgFraud may be a common crime, though it is not without victims and not without serious consequence. The idea of “defrauding” someone often brings to mind images of people selling fake Rolexes from open jackets on a dark street corner, but the reality of fraud is much less noticeable, even when it is happening to you. As the world continues to modernize and we increasingly rely on technology to perform all of our daily functions—including those which involve money and the transferring of funds from one account to the other—the issue of identity theft is one type of fraud that has proportionately risen in prominence. Roughly 15 million Americans are victims of identity theft annually, resulting in financial losses totally at least $50 billion. All told, nearly 7 percent of all American adults have been the victim of identity theft.

It is true that identity theft used to be a crime most often perpetrated by large criminal organizations, with the capability of sophisticated tracking and phishing technology. As technology changes, however, so does the crime perpetrated via technology. One no longer needs to be a sophisticated criminal to simply hack into someone’s account, and the data sought after by identity thieves are no longer just bank accounts. The theft or unauthorized use of a person’s cell phone line, cable service, government benefits, and financial loans are other types of common identity theft, the number of which have continued to steadily increase in recent years.

Monitoring your financial assets can help you to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. If you have already been the victim of such a crime, you can, free of charge, place a fraud alert on your credit reports and financial accounts to help avoid a similar circumstance in the future.

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