Will I Go to Jail If Charged with Telemarketing Fraud in California?
Telemarketing is usually just an annoying experience for most people. Still, it can also reach the level of committing a crime in different scams designed to take advantage of vulnerable people. In California, telemarketing fraud is described as an act of deceitful or fraudulent business schemes in an attempt to sell something.
For example, some telemarketers will claim to be calling from the Internal Revenue Service and say they are part of a criminal investigation. Still, they could avoid penalties if they provide confidential information, such as a credit card number.
There are seemingly endless fraudulent schemes used by telemarketers, which have increased in the last several years due to advances in technology. Related California crimes are Penal Code 653(m) PC annoying phone calls, spam/unsolicited emails under Business and Professions Code 17529.5, and false advertising under BPC 17500.
A prefiling intervention for anyone under investigation for telemarketing fraud is crucial to have the best chance at a favorable outcome. It might be possible to get the charges dismissed before court. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will review the law below for more information.
Defining BPC 17511.9 Telemarketing Fraud
California Business and Professions Code Section 17511.9 is the statute that defines telemarketing fraud:
- “Anyone including the seller, salesperson, agent of the seller, or independent contractor, who willfully employs a device or scheme to deceive related to an offer or sale by any telephonic seller, or willfully engages in any act which operates as a fraud or deceit upon any person in connection with a sale.”
BPC 17511.9 targets this type of conduct and other acts that fall under the umbrella of telemarketing fraud. For a prosecutor to convict someone of telemarketing fraud, beyond a reasonable doubt, they have to prove all the elements of the crime below:
- defendant was an agent or representative of a seller of a good or service;
- defendant used a device or scheme over the telephone that was related to an offer to sell said good or service;
- defendant willfully, either directly or indirectly, engaged in fraud or deceit in an attempt to sell the good or service over the telephone.
The term “fraud” in the context of this statute means an act that resulted in an unfair benefit for themselves and did cause harm or loss to someone.
Penalties Telemarketing Fraud in California
Telemarketing fraud in California is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor violation of BPC 17511.9, it's punishable by:
- maximum of one year in the county jail,
- a fine up to $10,000 fine, or both the fine and jail.
A felony conviction carries a sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years in the California state prison and a $10,000 fine. The $10,000 fine is applied per violation of the statute, meaning a large-scale operation could be hundreds of thousands.
Aggressive Prosecution of Telemarketers
Prosecutors and judges hate telemarketers, and if they find out that you're cheating people out of money with a telemarketing scheme, they're going to come and arrest you. They're going to execute a search warrant.
They're going to take all of your property, and the prosecutors will try to send you to prison, and they're going to try to get back any money you took as part of a telemarketing scheme.
You're going to have to hire an attorney who is used to dealing with the authorities where your case is pending — whether that be at the federal level or the state level. I've worked for the District Attorney's office, so I know how they prosecute these telemarketing schemes.
I've also worked for a judge, so I know how judges formulate and figure out how they will deal with criminal cases and the consequences that should be handed out based on what the individual or individuals did.
Defending Telemarketing Fraud Charges
So, if you, your business, your company are charged with telemarketing fraud and you need the best defense, you've come to the right place. Look no further. Check out my reviews and videos I have online and know that I know how to defend telemarketing scam cases, whether:
- we're going to do a complete defense to a jury trial and show that you're not guilty, or
- whether they have the evidence against you and we're trying to mitigate the circumstances — keep you out of jail or prison, give you a chance for a future.
You don't want some considerable debt being ordered against you, and then you go to prison, so you can't work off the money to pay back the debt. It doesn't make any sense. So, we need to structure a plan that makes sense for you, your circumstances, your story, your future, and your family.
We're going to sit down, and you're going to give me all of the information. Don't give me half the story. Don't give me just the story that helps you. Let's hear what the other side is going to say.:
- Let's hear what the police are going to say;
- Let's hear what the prosecutors are going to say;
- Let's hear what any witnesses will say about this telemarketing scam in Los Angeles county.
Laying Out a Plan for Best Possible Outcome
Once I have all of the information — all of the pieces of the puzzle — that's when I can sit down with you, and we can figure out what the best course of action is.
You don't want to set up a lousy road map right from the beginning, thinking that you're going to be able to show that you're innocent when you can't and putting pieces in place to do that because that's going to backfire.
Of course, we don't want the reverse. If you're innocent, why would you even talk about taking any deal, sending them character letters, and trying to get your attorney to start to negotiate with the prosecutors?
I see it all the time. People come in saying my attorney was negotiating with the prosecutors. I didn't want to deal. I'm innocent. But what type of conversation did you have with your attorney from the beginning.
That's the problem. You need to layout the plan, the road map from the beginning, and then when you know what you're going to do and you both agree on what you're going to do, now the plan can be executed.
You can do your part; your criminal defense attorney can do their part and achieve the goal you're looking for. So, if you're looking to either mitigate a telemarketing scam situation or defend it, you've come to the right place.
Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. We will go over all of the facts and details, and when you leave the session, you'll know what you're facing. You'll know what we're going to do to get you the best result. Hedding Law Firm is located at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free consultation at (213) 542-0940.