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White Collar Crimes in California

White collar crime generally refers to non-violent crime, often involving professionals, for financial gain. White collar crime may involve small amounts of money or millions of dollars. The penalties for white collar crimes in California depend, in part, on the extent of the alleged crime. If you are being investigated for financial or property crime, talk to an experienced East Bay criminal defense attorney about your case before you say anything which could put you at risk of criminal charges.

White collar crimes in California can include misdemeanor or felony charges. Penalties may include jail time, fines, and other consequences. White collar crimes may include:


Fraud can be treated as a serious offense and could result in felony charges leading to fines and jail time. Fraud can be charged under a number of California laws, depending on the type of fraud, amount involved, and the specific victim of the crime. Common fraud charges include:

  • Insurance Fraud
  • Identity Theft
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Healthcare Fraud
  • Welfare Fraud
  • Workers' Comp Fraud
  • Tax Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud


Under California law, bribery involves giving a public official anything of value or advantage with a corrupt intent to unlawfully influence that person's action, vote, or opinion, in any public or official capacity. This includes bribery involving:

  • Public Employees
  • Jurors
  • Witnesses
  • Judicial Officers
  • Legislative Officers
  • Executive Officers


Under California Penal Code 470, anyone who signs the name of another person or of a fictitious person with the intent to defraud is guilty of forgery. This also includes counterfeiting, altering, or falsifying the handwriting of another person. The criminal penalties for forgery depend on a number of factors, including the individual's criminal history, value of the fraud involved, and the forgery victims.


Counterfeiting involves changing or reproducing an item to pass it off as legitimate. This includes using counterfeit money, making fake IDs, or selling fake designer purses. Counterfeiting is a serious offense in California, with penalties including up to four years in prison. Depending on the type of counterfeiting involved, it can also include federal criminal charges.

Money Laundering

Money laundering involves taking money gained from unlawful activity and making it appear to come from a legitimate source. Laundering money can be used to hide the proceeds from illegal gambling, drug sales, trafficking, bribery, or other unlawful cash dealings. In California, the penalties for laundering money may include up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.

White Collar Crime Penalties

In addition to prison time and fines, white collar criminal convictions can include victim restitution. Criminal sentencing is enhanced when the defendant commits two or more related felonies involving fraud or embezzlement of more than $100,000. This is known as an aggravated white collar crime enhancement and can add additional time in prison and increased fines.

White Collar Crime Investigations

White collar crimes often involve long, in-depth investigations before any arrests or criminal charges are made. These investigations could involve an internal audit, insurance investigators, or federal law enforcement. If you believe you may be a suspect in a financial crime investigation, contact an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Even if you did nothing wrong, you may find yourself facing criminal charges for someone else's actions.

East Bay White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer

Talk to an experienced East Bay white collar criminal defense lawyer who will fight your criminal charges and negotiate to keep you out of jail. With more than 30 years of criminal defense experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how to approach the individual facts of each case for the greatest chance of success. If you are facing criminal charges anywhere in Contra Costa County or Alameda County, contact us today.

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