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Understanding California’s Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement

White collar crimes are nonviolent crimes that involve some form of fraud. The state of California and federal agencies can be involved in the investigation and prosecution of white collar crimes, including fraud and embezzlement. California law provides a measure of restitution for people who have lost money or property due to such offenses. Known as the aggravated white collar crime enhancement, it can be imposed on any person accused of committing fraud or embezzlement.

Penal Code §186.11 provides for additional incarceration and fines. A defendant that is convicted of two or more felonies in a single criminal proceeding faces an additional sentence of two, three or five years and fines that are dependent on the amount of the victim's losses. In addition, prosecutors have the power to "freeze and seize" a defendant's assets, including property shared with an innocent spouse or party not involved in the crime. The defendant's assets usually stay frozen pending sentencing.

A freeze on a defendant's assets can severely limit their ability to get loans, pay bills or fund their defense; however, under this law, innocent spouses and other interested parties can file a claim in order to protect their interests if their shared assets are frozen by the court. The claim must be filed within 30 days from the date of the first publication of notice or 30 days after receipt of actual notice that the assets were frozen.

If a party has a claim, they can request a hearing to determine if a freeze order should remain in effect. If the Court appoints a receiver to possess, preserve, manage and operate assets and property of the defendant, this court-appointed receiver is entitled to compensation for reasonable expenditures. A prosecutor must give notice to interested parties of their right to file a claim as well as the amount of the claim.

The statute leaves defendants some remedies, including the ability to request the release of a portion of property to pay for defense fees and living expenses. If a property is frozen, the court may order an interlocutory sale of the property to preserve its value.

Strategic Law Command is a criminal defense law firm based in Roseville, California. Our attorneys defend each case vigorously to work towards the best outcome possible under the circumstances. If you or a family member has been charged with any type of theft crime, feel free to contact us or call (916) 787-1234 for an initial consultation.