Houman Fakhimi

Casino, Bank Theft Charges Require Aggressive California Defense Lawyer

Two California men are accused of playing slot machines with stolen debit card numbers and spending more than $400,000 in other people's money after getting a bank to send them other people's debit cards, The Press-Enterprise reports.

Theft charges in California can range from something as petty as shoplifting a candy bar to an act as serious as committing fraud. Regardless of the charge, you have the right to defend yourself and you should consult with a Riverside County criminal defense attorneyas quickly as possible to discuss your defense.

The men face charges under the California Penal Code as well as under U.S. Code. Under California law, one of the men is charged with grand theft, fraud and burglary. Those charges stem from allegations that he used more than two dozen fraudulently obtained Chase Bank Visa debit card numbers to purchase about $25,000 in gift cards at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula.

But the federal charges apply to both men. An indictment alleges the two got Chase Bank to send them debit cards that didn't belong to them and spent more than $400,000 to make purchases and ATM withdrawals from Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties to Las Vegas.

Simply put, theft in California is the unlawful taking of another person's property without his or her permission and with the intent of keeping it. Less than $400 in value stolen is classified as petty and more than $400 is considered grand theft. Typically, the less the amount stolen, the lower the penalties and even grand theft can be charged as a misdemeanor.

But as the value stolen increases and the level of sophistication rises, the penalties get steeper. Grand theft in California can be punishable by years in prison. When most people think of theft, they may think of a car thief or someone committing a burglary. But the term is general and can apply to someone committing insurance fraud or, in this case, bank and wire fraud.

These are very serious charges. They can result in serious prison time, can often be very complex financial cases and require scores of witnesses. Don't attempt to fend off the charges on your own and don't trust the first attorney you find. Call for a free consultation.

If you're facing a theft charge in the Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Alameda County, Ventura County or the San Diego County area, it is critical for you to contact an attorney to help you fight for your rights. Contact a Riverside County criminal defense attorney at (714) 705-6701.