White Collar Crime


White Collar Defense

The term “white collar crime” typically refers to business-related financial crimes. These crimes violate federal law and are usually charged in federal court. White collar crimes include antitrust violations, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, bribery, computer/internet fraud, credit card fraud, counterfeiting, economic espionage, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, insurance fraud, money laundering, securities fraud, and tax evasion.

What is Forgery in California?


In California, forgery is a type of fraud that is considered both a “white collar” crime and a theft crime. Although most people think of forgery as simply “signing someone else’s name”, the offense of forgery is actually much more comprehensive.


  • Forgery occurs when you intend to commit a fraud and:
  • Sign someone else’s name without authorization,
  • Counterfeit or recreate the seal or handwriting of another without prior approval,
  • Alter, corrupt, or falsify specific legal written documents, such as a will or court record, and/or
  • Falsely make, alter, recreate, counterfeit, utter, or publish
  • Any document or item relating to money, stocks, a sale, transfer, or exchange of goods or property,
  • Any written document relating to how one intends to dispose of his/her property upon death,
  • A legal document other than a will or court record (a power of attorney, for example), or
  • A notarized document.


Just to clarify, the words “utter and publish” mean the same thing. They mean to use or attempt to use an instrument or document either to (1) assert that it is genuine, or (2) represent to someone else that it is genuine.


California forgery law only applies to acts that prejudice, damage, or defraud another out of:


  • Money,
  • An interest in property, and/or
  • Other legal rights

What is Embezzlement in California?


Embezzlement is a white collar crime that is also commonly referred to as employee theft and employee fraud. California embezzlement is defined under Penal Code 503 PC as unlawfully taking something from another that has been entrusted to you.


The “entrusting” is the major difference between embezzlement and other types of theft. In order to be convicted of embezzling property, it must be property that you legally possessed or had authority to access.


Embezzlement is most frequently seen in connection with employment situations, which explains its other common names.


Because of the stigma that a California embezzlement charge carries, it is certainly a charge worth fighting. False accusations, misleading evidence, or even a lapse in judgment shouldn’t jeopardize your future job opportunities, or, more importantly, your freedom.