Los Angeles Fraud Lawyer



Fraud is a type of theft where consent of the victim is obtained by intentional misrepresentation.  A fraud prosecution often includes some form of perjury (PC 118) or forgery (PC 470) or forgery-like crime which is often also charged as a separate count in the criminal complaint.
Welfare fraud (W&I 10980) is common and Los Angeles County investigators and prosecutors aggressively pursue anyone falsifying information to obtain government benefits.  Insurance Fraud, including Worker’s Compensation, Auto, or Medical Insurance fraud, are also common.
Though it is a crime, if you falsify your tax returns by misstating earned income or allowable deductions, the Federal government will usually send you a bill and audit you if you don’t pay.  Falsify your welfare application or Worker’s Comp claim and the county will send a criminal investigator to interview your neighbors, employer, and landlord.
Fraud Attorney Peter Sebastian has successfully kept defendants out of jail and even kept them free from crippling conviction records.  The following points should be kept in mind if charged with any type of Fraud.
  • Welfare Fraud under WIC 10980 is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor with up to six months in county jail, or up to three years imprisonment (served in county).
  • Welfare Fraud may be committed whether or not any actual financial benefit was received. For example, child care services may have been provided at an inflated cost claimed by the provider without the defendant/recipient’s knowledge or consent.  The claim submitted by the provider to the county may have been far beyond what the defendant would have or could have paid for such a service.  Nevertheless, if the day care was requested by the defendant without the requisite minimum financial need, the amount claimed by, and paid to the provider, will be considered stolen by the defendant.
  • Workers Comp Fraud is a wobbler as charged under IC 1871.4(a)(1), punishable by a year in county jail, or up to five years in prison (served in county).  There is also a fine of up to $150k.  A common violation is triggered by claiming a disability that prevents you from your regular work, then obtaining paid work elsewhere.
  • A Defendant may be charged based on a claim for which a Worker’s Comp Lawyer was retained.  As a civil case drags on, a client may scramble to find some other employment while waiting for benefits.  The client may have even discussed “other” work with the Worker’s Comp lawyer who in turn may have given bad advice about reporting it.  No matter.  The client will be arrested and charged with multiple felonies for having falsified the claim by not notifying the County about the other work.
  • Insurance Fraud under PC 550 is also a wobbler with the same punishment as above and may be charged by itself or along with other fraud charges.
  • $950 is all the amount needs to be to elevate these crimes from misdemeanors to a felony.
  • Each instance of a false statement provides the basis of a new criminal “count” making the charges, and potential incarceration time, increase without multiple benefits having been provided.  In other words, a single welfare or Workers Comp “claim” can be charged as twenty five or more counts.  Thus legitimate workplace injuries, which are routinely denied, then become a test of physical and moral stamina resulting in a life sentence criminal charges years after a claim was paid was spent.
  • Forgery is a wobbler (charged as felony or misdemeanor) with up to three years incarceration; perjury is a felony, punishable by up to four years incarceration.  Perjury is the giving of any knowingly false statement under oath.
  • Fraud is considered “CMT” (a crime of moral turpitude) in California and will lead to suspension or revocation of any professional license.
  • The good news is, Fraud charges can be negotiated. Booking will likely be required if there’s been no arrest, once charges are filed, even with a promise to pay back the amount in question and/or perform community service.  This is because the threat of incarceration is the prosecution’s preferred method to assure repayment, and keep any negotiated payment plan on schedule.  A sort of “diversion” program is often available, however, whereby pronouncement of judgment is delayed and the charges ultimately dismissed.
If you have been charged with any form of Fraud, contact Los Angeles Fraud Attorney Peter Sebastian.  He has helped families whose breadwinners were simply trying to obtain a better life for their kids avoid the serious penalty of incarceration for their missteps.  Remember, Fraud is a theft crime, and once such a conviction is on your record, your already difficult time finding employment multiplies many times.  Though such a conviction may not be avoidable, let a knowledgeable lawyer like Mr. Sebastian see what sort of negotiated settlement is possible based on the facts of your case to avoid incarceration.  If you have not intentionally claimed anything to which you didn’t believe you were entitled, let Mr. Sebastian prove this to the prosecutor or judge in settlement negotiations, or to a jury at trial to gain an acquittal.