Check Fraud | California PC 476

Whenever most people think of financial crimes, the first things to pop into their heads are often Wall Street scams and Ponzi schemes. As many people have unfortunately found out, however, a person doesn’t have to be a big-time investor to instigate or simply be charged with a financial crime. Check fraud, for instance, is one such crime that just about anyone could commit – and those charged with the crime quickly find out how serious California treats this offense.

What is Check Fraud?

Check fraud has one of the most basic definitions of any crime in the entire California statutes. A person commits check fraud if they write, possess, pass or make an altered, forged or fake check in an attempt to gain property, services or money with fraudulent intent. Additionally, the mere attempt to do any of these actions can also be charged as check fraud.

This crime can include completely falsifying a check, such as creating a fake check drawn on a fake account, or simply altering one to make it worth more than it was originally intended. Once again, it’s important to remember that no one actually has to be harmed or defrauded for this crime to be charged. Intent to defraud another is enough for the charge.

Bail Amounts for Check Fraud

California has predetermined punishments for check fraud, but the state allows each county to choose its own preset bail amount. This results in widely varying bail amounts in each county’s bail bond schedule. Some counties, such as Sacramento and Santa Cruz, fall in line with each other when it comes to bail amounts for check fraud, with a preset bail amount of $5,000 for both regions.

Other counties, such as Los Angeles, treat the crime a bit more harshly and set their bail amount at $20,000. Regardless of the county, however, it’s obvious that these amounts are more than most people have at their disposal. Luckily, a Bail Hotline agent can secure a person’s release for no more than 10 percent of the bail amount they’re facing. This action will allow them to quickly get out of jail, get back to their jobs and family, and also plan out their defense against the charge.
Punishments for Check Fraud

While California has preset punishments for check forgery, these consequences can still vary. Check fraud is known as a “wobbler;” this means that a prosecutor can choose to charge it as a felony or a misdemeanor. If charged as a misdemeanor, a convicted individual can face one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If charged as a felony, however, a convicted person may end up in prison for up to three years and owe a $10,000 fine.

Check fraud is a very serious form of forgery that can result in several years in the state penitentiary. This is why it’s essential for anyone charged with the crime to quickly seek out an attorney to defend them. It’s often best to be on the outside world rather than in jail when picking an attorney, and luckily, bail bond agencies can make this quite easy. If a person starts making the right moves as soon as they’re arrested, they will have a good chance of overcoming these serious charges. 

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