California Laws Against Check Fraud
One of the ways fraud can be committed is through check fraud. This form of fraud can occur because the person created fraudulent checks, intentionally wrote an inaccurate number, or presented a false check as a real one. All forms of fraud and forgery are taken seriously in the California justice system, and that sentiment is no different for check fraud.
The Elements of the Crime
If a person commits check fraud, they will have committed a violation of California Penal Code Section 476. The prosecution must prove several elements in order for the defendant to be found guilty in court. First, the defendant must have “possessed, made, used, or attempted to use a fictitious, false or altered check.” The check must have been intended to be used in order to pay for something. Second, the defendant must have known that the check was fraudulent. Third, the defendant must have had the intention to defraud by using the check. As well, if the defendant possessed the check, they must have possessed it in an attempt to pass it as a genuine check.
Penalties Following a Guilty Conviction
Forgery offenses in California can either be misdemeanors or felonies. It is up to the prosecutor and their discretion as to whether the defendant faces the former or latter. If a misdemeanor is pursued, the convicted individual will face jail time and fines. A felony also requires jail time and the payment of fines, similar to a misdemeanor, but the felony penalties present an increase in both the jail time and fine amount.