Ponzi Schemes and California Law

Ponzi Schemes and California Law

Ponzi schemes aren’t legal in California. The state considers these financial cons a type of financial fraud. California’s judicial system is currently set up in such a way that it helps protect whistleblowers and consumers from getting caught up in the legal drama that always surrounds Ponzi schemes.

Understanding the Difference Between Ponzi Schemes and Pyramid Schemes

Many people mistakenly assume that Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes are the same things. While there are quite a few similarities, there are also a few key differences.

Ponzi schemes are usually handled by a single person. That individual convinces investors to take part in something, usually a promised investment, that never comes to fruition. Investors are convinced that they can’t possibly lose money and will make a huge return on their investment. It usually takes a great deal of time for the investors to realize that the person who is “managing their portfolio” is actually running a con and is keeping their money.

The Bernard Madoff debacle is a perfect example of a Ponzi scheme. Madoff created the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and was able to convince several people he was the real deal. His pitch was so good, he amassed close to 5,000 investors. It’s believed that his take was close to $65 billion. 

A pyramid scheme is more elaborate and involves more people, some of which don’t realize that they’re committing a crime. With a pyramid scheme, a single person not only recruits investors but also recruits people who gather even more investors. The original person is the very top of the pyramid in this particular scheme. Most pyramid schemes involve a type of product that does actually exist. 

Business in Motion is an example of an illegal pyramid scheme. The program revolved around the sale of economical vacation plans. Each person who bought into the program invested $3,200. If the person was able to sell additional vacation packages to friends and family, they’d earn a $5,000 commission.  

Approximately 2,000 people bought into the pyramid scheme. In 2008, they launched a class-action lawsuit against the program’s creator. A judge agreed that the program was a pyramid scheme and awarded the investors a $6.5 million ruling.

The Legal Ramifications of Running a Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi schemes are prohibited in California. The laws that address Ponzi schemes are found in the California Penal Code Section 319. The creators of Ponzi schemes in California can be charged with:

• Laundering money
• Business fraud
• Mail fraud
• Securities fraud
• Tax fraud
• Wire fraud
• Theft

 
Charles Ponzi is considered the father of the Ponzi scheme. Ponzi was eventually convicted of mail fraud and spent 14 years in prison

Read more >

California’s Three Strikes and Your Out Policy

California's Three Strikes and Your Out Policy

California was once famous for its three strikes and your out brand of criminal justice.

How the Three Strikes Law Worked

 
The three-strikes law went into effect in 1994. The law was originally proposed in direct response to the horrific murders of Polly Klass and Kimber Reynolds.

The way the Three Strikes law works is if someone already had a felony conviction on their record when they were found guilty of a second felony, the amount of time they served in prison for the second felony was instantly doubled. If the same felon found themselves in trouble for a felony a third time, they were automatically sentenced to 25 years to a life in prison term. It didn’t matter if they were convicted to two (or three) different types of felonies, the extended sentence stuck.

The purpose the three-strike law served was to get dangerous felons off the streets for a long stretch of time.

The Three Strikes law was written in such a way that:

• Multiple sentences can’t be run concurrently, they have to be handled as consecutive sentences
• Suspensions and probation isn’t allowed
• While a felon is allowed to earn credits that shorten the amount of time they spend in prison, they can only use the credits to reduce the sentence by 1/5.
• Changes to the Three Strikes Law

 
Nothing stays the same. As the years have passed, tweaks have been made to California’s Three Strikes law. One such change took place on November 6, 2012, when the voting public approved Proposition 36.

One of the biggest changes brought about by Proposition 36 was that the third strike could only be enacted if the felony was considered serious or violent. Proposition 36 was written in such a way that felons were serving their third strike sentence but hadn’t been convicted of a serious or violent felony was allowed to appeal to the court for a reduced sentence.

Within a few months of voters passing Proposition 36, approximately 1,000 prisoners were released from California’s state prisons. Experts estimate that Proposition 36 has helped the state save over $1 billion during the course of 10 years.

Serious and violent felony offenses in California include:

• Violent sexual assault including rape
• Murder
• Robbery
• Assault with the intent to commit robbery
• Attempted murder

 

The Downside of the Three Strike Law

 
Some people aren’t happy about the three-strikes law. They’re quick to point out that extending sentences makes it difficult for the children of felons. Another issue is that by the time a second strike felon is released, the community they lived in before their arrest is so different it’s difficult for the felon to fit in, which increases the likelihood of them returning to a life of crime.

Does the Three Strike Law Work?

 
While there have always been people who claim that the Three Strikes law is too harsh and that it doesn’t work, the numbers seem to indicate otherwise.

According to the state, since implementing the Three Strikes law:

• There was a 10.9% decrease in rape convictions
• There was a 4% decrease in homicide convictions
• There was a 1% decrease in assault convictions
• There was a 1% decrease in robbery convictions

 
If you’re concerned about the kind of impact the Three Strike law would have on you, keep in mind that as long as you don’t commit any serious or violent felonies, you won’t have anything to worry about.

Read more >

Is the Bail Bonds Process Changing

Is the Bail Bonds Process Changing

The bail bonds program is interesting. It was created for the purpose of allowing individuals who have been charged with a crime to carry on with their lives while they wait for their case to make its way through the legal system. The idea of the bail bonds program is that it creates a financial incentive for you to make all your mandatory court appearances. If you appear before a judge, you get the bail back. If you fail to appear, the court keeps the money.

It’s an eloquent system. The process enables you to work, to care for your family, and to easily mount a defense. It also saves the taxpayers a substantial amount of money since they aren’t responsible for keeping you fed, healthy, and housed while you wait for your day in court. If you’re unable to cover the cost of your bail, Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles is ready and willing to help out.

The benefits of working with Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles include:

• 24/7 Bail bond service
• A lack of hidden fees
• 20% Discount
• Over the Phone approvals
• 0% Interest payment plans
• No collateral with a working signer
• Se Habla Español

 
The bail bond process has been in place for a long time and has always worked well but it could change.

California voters have the option of changing how the state’s cash bail system functions. In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown passed a bill, Senate Bill 10, that did away with the current cash bail program and replacing with a risk assessment program that would be used to determine if an individual should be released from jail prior to their trial. The idea was that the changes made it easier for low-income prisoners who lacked the funds and connections needed to bail themselves out to be released.

If California residents pass Senate Bill 10 during the November 2020 election, it would do away with the current trend of judges simply looking at the charges filed against a person when setting a bail amount. Instead, the type of charges, the individual’s ties to the community, and their background would also be taken into consideration during the bail hearing.

If voters pass Senate Bill 10, it will be interesting to see if other states explore the possibility of passing similar legislation.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime and you lack the means needed to cover the bail yourself, your best course of action is contacting Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles. We’re ready and willing to help you out.

When you contact us, you’ll work with an experienced bail bond agent who will explore the conditions of your bail and discuss a plan to get you released from jail. The initial consultation is free and completely free of any obligation.

There are two ways to contact Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles. You can click the Chat With Us link or call 877-793-2254.

Read more >

COVID-19 and Bail Bonds

COVID-19 and Bail Bonds

The pandemic has hit everyone hard. Money is tight. Emotions are high. No one is entirely certain what their legal rights actually are. There is no getting around the fact that this has changed the judicial process.

COVID-19 has made the idea of sitting in jail while you work your way through the incredibly slow legal process even less desirable than it was before the pandemic. Now, staying in jail while waiting for your trial to take place not only means potentially losing your job and being unable to care for your family, but it also increases the likelihood of your contracting the virus. A recent batch of tests revealed that in a single Ohio prison, 80% of the inmates have contracted COVID-19.

It doesn’t matter how careful corrections officers are, the close quarters’ cellmates have to endure makes it nearly impossible to keep the environment free of the coronavirus. Each time someone is arrested, there is a chance they’re introducing the virus into the environment. Paying bail and getting released is the best way you can continue to social distance and remain healthy.

Understanding the importance of getting released from jail has triggered an interest grassroots movement in Greene County, Al. A group of concerned citizens have banned together and worked hard to raise money that is used to help cover the bail of individuals who have been charged with a crime. As a direct result of their efforts, the group has managed to get two people released on bail.

The work that the group is doing is fantastic, but the odds of them being able to help you walk out of jail cell and return home are incredibly slim. If you’re unable to post your own bond, contacting Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles is your best shot of being released. We’ve made the process as simple as we possibly can.

There are several reasons you should turn to Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles for help releasing you from jail during the COVID-19 pandemic. The list of benefits our clients enjoy include:

• 24/7 service
• A complete lack of hidden fees
• 20% discount
• No interest
• Phone approvals
• Working signers don’t have to worry about collateral
• Se Habla Español

 
We have a great deal of experience working with both county and state courts. Our connections allow us to quickly post your bond so you can walk out of jail almost immediately. We communicate well with each of our clients and make sure that you understand every aspect of your bail so that there aren’t any surprises in your future.

Considering the dangers of being incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, it really is in your best interest to contact Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles as quickly as possible. The sooner you speak to one of our bail bond agents, the sooner we can procure your release and you can resume social distancing.

We provide free consultations. All you have to do is call 877-793-2254 or click Chat With Us now.

Read more >

Do You Require Bail Bond?

Do You Require Bail Bond?

Getting arrested for any reason is a life-altering event. Not only do you face public ridicule, but you also must figure out how you’re going to launch your defense, how you’re going to provide for your family, and how to deal with the aftermath of the arrest. The entire situation is stressful, time consuming, and costly.

First Things First

One of your first priorities is getting yourself released from jail. Despite how things are portrayed on television, the legal process moves at an incredibly slow rate. If your case goes to trial, it could take as long as a year before the matter is resolved. You do not want to spend that time sitting in a jail cell. Getting released allows you to continue working, to easily meet with lawyers, and lets you maintain control of your life until the legal matter is resolved.

Getting out of Jail-Understanding Bail Bond

The court system uses bail as a means of encouraging individuals who have been charged with a crime to stay involved in the court process and make all their court appearances. If you do as your supposed to and appear before a judge at the appointed times, the court system returns the bail. If you do not, the court keeps it. When determining how much your bail will be, the judge considers the charges filed against you, your community ties, and your criminal history.

In most cases, the judge determines the amount of your bail, but some crimes have a predetermined bail schedule. In Los Angeles, anyone charged with sexual assault receives a minimum of $25,000 bail. Manslaughter cases involve a $1,000,000 bail.

The Role of a Bail Bonds Company

Once a judge has determined how much bail is required for you to leave jail and resume your life, it’s up to you to figure out how to fund your freedom. In cases where the bail is low, you may have enough money in the bank to cover the cost. Or you may have a family member who is willing to loan you the money. If you cannot come up with the funds yourself, you contact Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles and we’ll help you out.

When you contact us about putting up your bail, we run a risk assessment on you and determine if our underwriters will allow us to cover your bail. Factors we consider include:

• Your professional and personal connection to the community
• Your financial situation
• The charges filed against you
• The amount required

 
If we believe you’re not a flight risk and that you’ll appear for all of the court dates we work with the court to get you released from your jail cell and back with your family.

In many cases, we do require that you find someone who is willing to co-sign for your bail bond. The reason for this is to lower our risk. 

Once you’re freed from jail, it’s important that you are diligent about making every single official court appearance, that you stay in communication with both us and the court, and that you don’t do anything else that attracts negative attention from the police.

The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you return to your regular life.

Read more >

Different Types of Bail Bonds

Different Types of Bail Bonds

Anyone who watches procedural shows knows that a bail bond is an amount of money you pay the court so you are released from jail while you await a trial. What many of us don’t realize is that there are actually several different types of bail bonds.

Personal Reconnaissance Bond

Procedural shows give the impression that bail is always a massive amount of money. The truth is that in many cases, individuals are assigned a personal reconnaissance bond. When this happens, the individual simply signs a paper stating that they agree to make all court-ordered appearances and can walk out the door without paying the court a dime. In some cases, stipulations, such as not leaving town, staying away from certain people, or not drinking alcohol are part of the personal reconnaissance bond.

Cash Bond

Shortly after you’re arrested, you’ll go before a judge who will listen to both the prosecutor and your defense attorney and access how much money is needed to secure your release from jail. Once the amount is determined, all you have to do is pay it and you’re free to return to your family and job. When the amount isn’t large, many people opt to pay it themselves. Since most courthouses don’t accept anything but cash, this is called a cash bond.  

Surety Bond

In a perfect world, you have enough cash in your bank account to bail yourself out. Sadly, the world isn’t perfect and often the cash you do have is needed to handle things like the cost of a lawyer and legal fees. When you lack the necessary cash, a company like Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles steps in and helps you out. In exchange for paying us 10% of the ordered bail amount, we’ll post the entire amount.

When you find yourself in need of a surety bond, you need to ask lots of questions. These questions include:

• Will you be charged interest?
• Do you need a co-signer?
• Exactly how much money is needed upfront?

 
It’s important to remember that once a bail bond company covers your bail, you’ve entered into a formal agreement with them. You’re promised the business that you will attend all of your court appearances.

Federal Bail Bond

When you’re charged with a federal crime, you get a federal bail bond. Despite how they’re portrayed on television, federal bail bonds differ from state and county bail bonds. While there are always exceptions, many federal bail bonds are the Federal court is more interested in imposing restrictions that are designed to ensure the defendant appears in court. It’s rare for a bail bondsman to be asked to help someone with a Federal bail bond unless they are also facing state or county charges as well.

If you or a loved one has been arrested, it is in your best interest to ask your lawyer to explain the details of your bail. If you need help covering your bail, contact Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles at 877-793-2254.

Read more >

Did You Know There Is a Difference between Jail and Prison?

Did You Know There Is a Difference between Jail and Prison?

For most people, there are a lot of unknowns about getting arrested. Most people don’t know what exactly happens when someone is arrested, how to deal with bail, or what the difference between jail and prison is. Many people don’t even realize that there is a difference between jail and prison and use the two words interchangeably.

Both jails and prisons hold inmates for a set amount of time until their sentence is up. However, despite their similarities, jails and prisons are not the same thing. Jails are run by local counties and house inmates for short periods. These facilities are often smaller and provide fewer services for the inmates than a prison might. Inmates in jail have either been found guilty of less serious crimes or they are still awaiting their trial.

Prisons, on the other hand, are larger facilities run by either the state or federal government. These facilities hold inmates anywhere from several years to life. Due to this fact, they provide more services for the inmates housed within. The inmates housed in these facilities have been found guilty of serious offenses.

When someone you know has been arrested and is awaiting trial, they are being held in jail. They can be released if you pay the bail, which will likely cost several thousands of dollars. Luckily, you can get a bail bond that only costs 10% of that amount by contacting Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles. Here at Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, we provide all of the following for our clients:

• 24/7 Bail bond service
• 20% Discount
• Phone approvals
• 0% Interest payment plans
• No hidden fees
• No collateral with working signer
• Se habla Español

 
If you have questions about any part of the arrest and jail process, feel free to talk to one of our bail agents. All consultations are free. Our agents will happily answer your questions and get you set up with a bail bond that you can afford.

Call 877-793-2254 or click Chat With Us now to speak with a knowledgeable bail agent.

Read more >

What Would You Do If a Loved One Was Arrested?

What Would You Do If a Loved One Was Arrested?

Everyone has a group of people in their life that they deeply care about and they claim they would do anything for these people. Does that include bailing them out of jail? This is something most people don’t think about. They don’t plan on any of their loved ones ever getting arrested, which can lead to them facing the decision to post bail or not. With bail costing several thousands of dollars on average, this is a tough decision to make.

Most people don’t have a lot of money just sitting around that they can spend on bail. Add on the fact that bail isn’t cheap, and you can see where people start to have problems. The thing is, you don’t have to face bail alone. You can talk to the professionals here at Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles about getting an affordable bail bond.

Here at Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, we do everything that we can to make it so our clients can afford to rescue their loved ones from jail. To start with, our bail bonds only cost 10% of the bail that they are for. This means that you can save 90% just by coming to us for help. In addition, we also provide the following for our clients:

• 24/7 Bail bond service
• 20% Discount
• Phone approvals
• 0% Interest payment plans
• No hidden fees
• No collateral with working signer
• Se habla Español

 
We know how expensive and intimidating the prospect of bail can be, which is why we try to simplify it for our clients. Our bail agents will do all of the hard work for you and answer all of your questions. We will also provide you with a personalized payment plan that comes with 0% interest on it. This way you can take your time paying for your loved one’s bail while still getting them out of jail right away.

If you care about a person, and they end up getting arrested, you should help them out. Posting bail can be expensive, but it allows your loved one to be free during their trial. It allows them to have a semi-normal life. That is worth the cost, and besides, with Cal Bail Bonds in Los Angeles helping you, it will be more affordable than you think.

You can talk to a bail agent for free by calling 877-793-2254 or clicking Chat With Us now.

Read more >

What Is Solicitation?

What Is Solicitation?

There are things out there that some people might want to do, but can’t because it is illegal. For most people, that is enough for them to let the idea go altogether. However, some people still want to do whatever illegal thing it was that they were thinking of, and they might just have a way around the law.

To stay out of trouble and still get the illegal task done, some people resort to hiring someone else to do the deed for them. They think this leaves them free and clear, but it does not. Hiring someone to commit a crime is just as illegal as committing the crime itself.

The Definition of Solicitation

The act of hiring or convincing someone else to commit a crime is referred to as solicitation. This crime is covered under 2 different laws, Penal Code (PC) 647 and PC 653(f).

PC 647 is solely concerned with someone soliciting another person for lewd acts and/or prostitution. If a person tries to convince another person to commit a lewd or sexual act in public, then they are guilty of disorderly conduct. The same is true if a person tries to solicit another individual with prostitution.

Meanwhile, PC 653(f) covers solicitation of pretty much every other criminal act. Some examples of crimes that are covered under this law include:

• Arson,
• Assault,
• Burglary,
• Extortion,
• Murder,
• Rape,
• Robbery,
• And theft.

 
This is just a small sample of the crimes that are covered under PC 653(f).

In all instances, the person being solicited does not have to agree to the intended action of the solicitor for them to be guilty of soliciting. A person is guilty of soliciting the minute they intentionally ask someone to commit something that they know is a crime.

The Penalties of Solicitation

The penalties that a person will face for solicitation are dependent on the crime the person solicited. When it comes to PC 647(a), soliciting lewd conduct in public, and PC 647(b), soliciting prostitution, these crimes are both charged as disorderly conduct. This means that a person will face misdemeanor charges that come with:

• Up to 6 months in county jail.
• A max fine of $1,000.
• Misdemeanor probation.

 
If a person has previous charges of solicitation of prostitution charges, then they will face increased consequences. If the act is committed in a vehicle, then a person can also have their driver’s license suspended.

When it comes to the other types of solicitation, those covered under PC 653(f), the penalties are much more varied. In these instances, a person will face consequences related to the offense they solicited. This means that they could face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on what crime it was they tried to solicit. The worse the crime, the worse the consequences.

A person cannot be charged with both solicitation and the crime itself. If a person solicits another person to commit a crime, and the other individual goes through with the crime, the solicitor will be charged as an accessory to the crime. This means the solicitor will face the same charges as if they had committed the crime themselves.

It Is Still Illegal

When a person tries to convince someone else to commit a crime for them, it is just as bad as if they had tried to commit the crime themselves. This law is very similar to that of criminal conspiracy in that someone is planning to commit a crime. The only difference is that in this instance, the person planning the crime isn’t the one who would end up committing the crime.

The act of soliciting a crime is illegal here in California to deter people from trying to convince others to commit crimes for them.

Read more >

What Is Money Laundering and Why Is It Illegal?

What Is Money Laundering and Why Is It Illegal?

Everyone is aware of the obvious fact that committing crimes is illegal. What can often get people into trouble is not knowing which acts are considered illegal in the first place. This leads to people doing something they thought was okay and then winding up in trouble with the law.

For instance, people are aware that stealing money from someone else is bad. However, many people do not realize that just depositing illegally gained money into a bank account is illegal. While it sounds a little, silly, there is a good reason for this.

The Definition of Money Laundering

The act of depositing illegally gotten money into a bank account, or any other legitimate institution, is called money laundering. This is a reference to how the person depositing the dirty money, because it was obtained from criminal activity, is trying to “clean” it by putting it to use in legitimate institutions such as banks and other businesses.

This crime is made illegal under 2 California laws: Penal Code (PC) 186.10 and Health and Safety Code (HS) 11370.9. The reason for the two different laws is the distinction between how the money was obtained. HS 11370.9 is only concerned with money that was obtained through all drug crimes. PC 186.10 covers money from any other type of crime.

Both of these crimes require specific intent or knowledge of criminal activity. In other words, money laundering can only occur when a person is knowingly trying to “clean” the money by placing it into a financial institution.

Why Is Money Laundering Illegal

After learning what money laundering is, some people are left wondering why the act is even illegal. Why punish someone for depositing illegally obtained money? Shouldn’t the illegal act be punishment enough?

For California, money laundering became illegal to help combat organized crime rings. In these crime rings, the lower-ranking people were the ones who would commit the illegal activity and therefore they were the ones who faced the consequences. Meanwhile, the bosses were able to get away with the money and without any consequences.

Making it illegal to handle criminally obtained money made it possible to go after the bosses of criminal organizations.

Penalties for Money Laundering

Money laundering is a wobbler offense under both PC 186.10 and HS 11370.9, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. How exactly it is charged will be dependent on the person’s criminal record and the crime itself.

When either crime is charged as a misdemeanor, the person will face:

• Up to 1 year in county jail.
• A max fine of $1,000.

 
When PC 186.10 is charged as a felony, a person will face:

• 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
• A max fine of either $250,000 or twice the amount of the money that was laundered, whichever is greater.

 
The maximum fine for this crime can increase if this is not the first time the person was convicted of money laundering. Also, the maximum prison sentence can increase if the total amount of money laundered was greater than $50,000.

When HS 11370.9 is charged as a felony, a person will face:

• 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison.
• A max fine of either $250,000 or twice the amount of the money that was laundered, whichever is greater.

 

It’s an Odd but Important Crime

Money laundering is a bit of an odd crime. For starters, it doesn’t involve laundry in any way. Then there is the fact that people are being punished for putting money into a bank account. However, as strange as this may seem, it does make sense. Making this simple act illegal allows law enforcement agents to go after those in charge of different crime organizations. This way, everyone in the criminal organization can get punished, not just those doing the grunt work.

Read more >