Money by Gambling Fraud
While there are some legal forms of gambling in California, using gambling as a scheme to defraud another individual of their money is considered to be a crime of theft. According to California Penal Code 332, it is illegal to use card tricks, betting on a ‘sure thing’, or fortune-telling in order to obtain money from a person. In order for the prosecution to prove that gambling fraud occurred, they must argue that the defendant defrauded another individual by obtaining their money through a card game, gambling device, betting, deceptions, or an attempt at fortune telling. Therefore, the defendant must have acted in bad faith and cheated the rules of the gambling game, and received money or property in return.
Penalties for a Conviction
Penal Code 332 establishes similar penalties for gambling fraud as other theft crimes. The crime is considered to be a wobbler offense, with the cut off between a misdemeanor and a felony set at $950. If less than $950 was obtained through gambling fraud, the defendant faces a misdemeanor charge that includes serving time in a county jail and summary probation and paying a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the defendant is convicted of a felony, they can serve up to three years in a county jail and formal probation. Furthermore, if the defendant has committed this crime before, they must also pay a fine of up to $10,000.
Given how complex the theft laws are in California, as well as the additional laws regarding gambling, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Some have argued against the charges by claiming protection under their right to free speech, while others have proven that they lacked the intent to defraud people of their money.