“Honey, I finally got you that designer bag you wanted!”

Just the other day, in our own backyard, law enforcement officials seized over $12.7 million in counterfeit Cialis pills (no comment) and fake designer clothing and shoes.  The bust occurred in the Port of Long Beach and included over 47,0o0 pills and over 10,000 pieces of clothing and shoes.

Now, I know what you might be thinking.  “How in the world is all that fake stuff worth $12.7 million?”  Well, when counterfeit items’ value is calculated, law enforcement uses that manufacturer’s suggested retail price.  So, that fake designer bag you just bought for $75 is “worth” $3,000 when it comes time to charge you criminally for possessing it.  Ooopsy.

Possessing counterfeit goods in California is enforced via Penal Code section 475, aka forgery.  That section states, basically, that anyone who possesses or receives a forged item and intends to pass that item on with the intent to defraud another person is guilty of this crime.  Note that the person possessing or receiving the forged item must know the item is fake and then act with intent to defraud another in order to be guilty.

Forgery is a “wobbler” in California, which means that it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.  This typically will depend on the value of the items possessed/forged, quantity, person’s criminal history, etc.

So, what does all of this mean other than don’t sell knock-off stuff?  Well, if you are arrested for forgery, as with any crime, it is important not to make any statements to law enforcement without consulting with an attorney first.  It is human nature to want to apologize for wrongdoing or to minimalize wrongful actions, but doing that is an admission of guilty and can be used against you.  For crimes like forgery or possessing some counterfeit goods, there can be a lot said for being able to pay restitution or some other form of making any victim “whole” again, so keep that in mind.

Being charged with a crime is no fun.  Remember that it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as is possible and to treat your criminal charges seriously because the prosecutor is treating them seriously.  “Getting ahead of the charges” is always a good idea – have your attorney call law enforcement, call the DA’s office, try to speak to someone in charge of actually determining what charges, if any, get filed against you.

Call Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Ross Erlich today for a free case consultation and to find out what are some of the things that you can do to put yourself in the best position before court.

Local Doctors Among Those Charged In $32 Million Medicare Fraud

Two local doctors and six other individuals face charges over their alleged fraud in bilking Medicare out of approximately $32 million.  Workers at local medical supply companies have also been involved in the probe.

One doctor is accused of causing more than $24 million in losses to Medicare through fraudulent billing and referrals for medical equipment.  These referrals included more than 1,000 expensive power wheelchairs and other home health services which were not medically necessary and, in some cases, rarely provided to patients.

These defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Medicare Fraud Task forces in the Southern California area have resulted in cases against 27 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals and an estimated $260 million in fraudulent billing.

If you, or someone you know, has been arrested for, charged with or is being investigated for crime involving fraud or moral turpitude, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Theft and fraud cases typically involve a restitution order to the victim(s) which, if resolved prior to the case being resolved, can help achieve a better result for the accused.  In other words, being able to make the victim(s) whole either prior to charges being filed or right after, can have benefits for the resolution of the case.

You should also know that having a theft, fraud or other moral turpitude conviction on your record can have severe consequences on your ability to keep or find employment.  Crimes of moral turpitude are red flags for employers so it is important to have an attorney who is aware of that and works to avoid a theft, fraud or moral turpitude conviction.  If you hold a license with the state, such as a doctor, lawyer or nurse, you run a great risk in losing your license through administrative proceedings as a result of being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude.

If you or someone you know is facing a charge of fraud, theft, embezzlement, receiving stolen property, burglary or conspiracy, contact our office today for a free case consultation and to know your options.

Ex-Glendale Councilman Released From Jail Early For House Arrest

A former Glendale councilman who was sentenced to one year in county jail after his guilty pleas of embezzlement, perjury and filing false tax returns will now serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

Because these crimes are classified by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as nonviolent and nonsexual, the amount of time actually served is almost immediately cut in half.  This policy is part of the new realignment guidelines meant to curb inmate overcrowding in the California state prison system.

Mr. Drayman, the defendant, will have to wear an ankle bracelet and be monitored by the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

If you are facing criminal charges for a nonviolent and nonsexual crime, it is important to know what other options are available to you besides serving time in county jail.  Electronic monitoring, or “house arrest,” is a common resource used by attorney Ross Erlich to avoid having clients lose their jobs or family.  Typically, electronic monitoring is an alternative to actual custody and is available either prior to a conviction as pre-trial release or after a conviction.  This means that house arrest usually occurs, in a sentencing capacity, after someone has plead guilty and sent to county jail.  Individuals are then screened for eligibility upon their arrival and factors such as prior criminal history, nature of the current charges and personal background are taken into consideration.

There are many options in resolving a theft or fraud case in Los Angeles.  Just because you were arrested for, and charged with, a felony, does not mean that you are going to wind up with a felony conviction on your record.  Victim restitution can be a large factor in attorney Ross Erlich’s ability to get the charges reduced or even dismissed through a civil compromise with the court.  Additionally, convictions for theft, fraud or embezzlement are crimes of “moral turpitude.”  These convictions can have severe consequences in terms of keeping or securing employment and protecting any license from the state.

If you have been arrested for, or charged with, fraud, embezzlement or theft in Los Angeles, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, Downtown, Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, contact attorney Ross Erlich today to discuss all of your options.  Attorney Ross Erlich handles all theft and fraud cases in the Airport Court, CCB Court, Pasadena Court, Glendale court and all other fraud and theft charges throughout Los Angeles County.