Articles Posted in Fraud

As experienced Los Angeles white collar crime defense attorneys, we know that regardless of career or social standing, anyone can be accused of or indicted for a white collar crime. These offenses are generally those that are financially motivated, and typically do not involve violence. Still, the criminal penalties if convicted are often extremely harsh, and even life changing.

Anyone who is familiar with the reality show “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” is probably well aware of the fact that Joe and Teresa Giudice have been indicted in nearly 40 federal charges including wire and bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to defraud lenders, and more. Charges like these can result in decades behind bars for those found guilty. Unfortunately, there are white collar crimes they may be unknowingly or at least not intentionally committed, such as failure to file a tax return. We are all humans, and mistakes can be made!

Various white collar crimes include:

While certainly not as serious as being indicted for a violent crime, many white collar crimes lead to serious criminal penalties for those convicted.  White collar crimes are generally related to financial matters, and involve no violence.  Whether you are an accounting clerk in charge of the company petty cash box or in a management position with a bank or financial institution, you could be accused of a crime.

Falsifying a loan application, neglecting to report all of your assets when filing bankruptcy, even failing to file a tax return could leave you facing criminal charges.  From highly visible celebrities to those working in a factory, literally anyone can find themselves being indicted for a crime.

Common White Collar Crimes in Los Angeles

Roxana Sanchez, a 25-year-old Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department civilian employee, was recently charged with forgery and grand theft, both felony charges.  Sanchez pleaded not guilty on Monday October 28.

Sanchez worked at the Century Regional Detention Facility as a civilian employee according to Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department.  Whitmore said that when she said she was called up for active duty as a reservist with the U.S. Marines, she lied and forged military activation documents.  Prosecutors in the case claim that Sanchez forged signatures on documents indicating that she would be deployed from March through May.  Ultimately, Sanchez was paid wages by the sheriff’s department while she was allegedly on active military duty.  According to news reports, she was paid just over $1,000 which she should not have been paid due to what authorities call “fraudulent actions.”

Individuals may be charged with a felony offense when forging a document in order to commit fraud.  Considered a white collar crime, fraudulent activity can lead to serious criminal penalties for those convicted.  This case clearly indicates that an individual does not have to commit a violent offense in order to be charged with a crime.

On Tuesday August 20, 44-year-old Douglas Ellingson pleaded guilty to defrauding investors of over $2 million, according to the Courthouse News Service.  Ellingson, along with two other individuals, James Pantazelos and William Ison, allegedly conspired to defraud investors through Olathe Mining Co., a business owned by Ison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Authorities claim Ellingson enticed potential clients to invest in the company by lying about Ison’s background, among other things.  Because of his actions, investors became the victims of fraud.  Ellingson and Ison allegedly told potential investors that Ison contributed more than a “trillion” dollars to a variety of humanitarian causes, and was the head of a large non-profit foundation that contributed this money.  Essentially, Ellingson and his co-defendants enticed potential clients to hand over their money by making promises that charitable causes would be supported by the profits.

In February, Pantazelos was ordered to pay $3.3 million in restitution; he was also sentenced to 19 1/2 years in federal prison.  Ellingson will be sentenced to up to five years in federal prison for wire fraud conspiracy in late October according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.