Charity is the value of helping out without the intention of getting anything in return—an altruistic concept. To make this possible, institutions and organizations are setting up charitable organizations to help accomplish that goal. But, despite the very value it aims to promote, people are still finding ways to corrupt it. For example, false charities.
Fake or false charity is a scam type that takes advantage of people's compassion, kindness, and generosity. The proprietors will act as real charitable institutions; sometimes, they even take well-known philanthropists' names and use their credentials. This is a criminal offense called theft by false pretense.
California Penal Code PC 532 is the law that criminalizes the act of theft via false pretense. It states that every person who knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defrauds any other person of money, labor, or property, whether real or personal, or who causes or procures others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile character, and by thus imposing upon any person obtains credit, and thereby fraudulently gets possession of money or property, or obtains the labor or service of another, is punishable in the same manner and to the same extent as for larceny of the money or property so obtained.
Upon a trial for having, with an intent to cheat or defraud another designedly, by any false pretense, obtained the signature of any person to a written instrument, or have obtained from any person any labor, money, or property, whether real or personal, or valuable thing, the defendant cannot be convicted if the false pretense was expressed in language unaccompanied by a false token or writing, unless the pretense or some note or memorandum thereof is in writing, subscribed by or in the handwriting of the defendant, or unless the pretense is proven by the testimony of two witnesses or that of one witness and corroborating circumstances. This section does not apply to a prosecution for falsely representing or personating another, and, in that assumed character, marrying, or receiving any money or property.
Penalties for violating PC 532
The intensity of the penalty will depend on the worth that the suspect/s have taken.
- If the property was stolen is worth more than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), or is a firearm or a car, it is grand theft. The maximum penalty for grand theft is EITHER up to one (1) year in county jail, OR sixteen (16) months, two (2) years, or three (3) years in jail or prison, depending on how the prosecutor chooses to charge the crime.
- If the property is worth less than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), then false pretense theft is petty theft. The maximum penalty will be a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment in the county jail for up to six (6) months, or both the fine and imprisonment.
If one ever finds himself/herself facing PC 532 charges due to allegations of theft by false pretense, the following conditions can be used as a defense to challenge the accusations:
- The defendant was falsely accused,
- The defendant was coerced to confess, or
- There is not There is not enough evidence pointing the crime to the defendant.
False accusations – This condition is used when the defendant was falsely blamed for a crime, he/she did not commit.
Coerced confession – This condition is used when the defendant was forced to confess to a crime, he/she did not commit.
Not enough evidence – This condition is used when no evidence points to the defendant's involvement in the criminal offense. Without evidence, the defendant is innocent in the eye of the law.
Facing allegations of violating PC 532 can significantly hurt a person's civil and social credit, reducing the chances of getting social privileges. To avoid facing these hassles, the moment one ever had the misfortune of being accused of such crimes, it would be their best interest to seek our lawyers' assistance. Our team of top-notch California based lawyers can assist them or their parties in lowering, if not dismissing, any accusations and charges thrown unto them.
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