Like penalties for most crimes, a financial crime can stunt a person’s ability to find new employment, maintain professional relationships and thrive as an individual. California’s financial crime laws can be especially unforgiving, as they can cost a person thousands of dollars and even years behind bars. There are, however, ways to resolve such charges and move on with life, both personally and professionally.

Just last May, The Los Angeles Times shared the the story of two doctors from Newport Beach who faced serious repercussions after they were accused of insurance fraud worth millions. The doctors allegedly wrote unnecessary urine tests in a scheme that amounted to over $20 million, having operated through various sober-living homes in the area. The consequences proved severe, as both Drs. Carlos Montano and Suzie Schuder faced felony charges, including a conspiracy to commit medical insurance fraud, counts of insurance fraud and potential charges for allegations of property damage. The real consequences lie in their possible prison sentences of up to 17 years. 

Receiving over a decade of prison time can permanently damage the lives of those involved. Findlaw clarifies California’s embezzlement laws, noting that the state differentiates embezzlement from larceny and theft charges; in an embezzlement charge, a fiduciary relationship must exist between defendant and victim. While a felony charge can come with crippling effects, there are a number of possible embezzlement defenses, such as claim of authority, claim of good faith and no demand. A no demand defense can prove successful if the victim does not request a return of the property in written form. Although this request is not a requirement, a defendant could turn to a defense of neglect. A white collar crime such as embezzlement is serious regardless of the specific situation, but a strong defense can help defendants avoid investigations and charges in some cases.