Fraud (PC 484):
A person who commits an act that results in unfair or undeserved benefit for yourself and/or causes loss or harm to another person, then you have violated California’s criminal fraud laws. Generally, there are two main motives for violating the statute: financial gain and/or to escape criminal culpability.
Penalties (PC 484):
Many California fraud cases are wobbler offenses, giving the prosecutor the discretion whether to charge it as a misdemeanor or felony; the decision largely depends on the facts of the case and your criminal record. Some are treated as automatic felonies and a majority of offenses are federal crimes, subjecting you to both state and federal courts, which in turn subject you to increased penalties. In addition, California fraud convictions subject legal resident aliens to deportation or removal.
Legal Defenses (PC 484):
There are a variety of ways to defend fraudulent cases. The best case scenario is to prove to the court that you did not have fraudulent intent. If didn’t intend to commit a fraud, you cannot be guilty of committing fraud.