The state of California is a primary source of cybercrimes in the United States, which is also commonly known as “internet fraud.” Local prosecutors are often aggressive in their pursuit of filing charges against anyone suspected of committing internet fraud cases.
In fact, many District Attorney Offices have specialized units that are responsible for investigating and bringing criminal charges in cybercrime cases.
The term “cybercrime” is broad and actually describes many state or federal related crimes committed over the internet.
Common types of cybercrimes
Most cybercrimes in California prosecuted under state laws, but there are some serious felony cases that are often charged as a federal offense. The most common forms of cybercrimes include:
- identity theft which is stealing someone's personal information for fraudulent purposes;
- credit card fraud which means stealing someone's credit or debit card or the information to frequently receive good or services;
- child pornography which includes the distribution and downloading of child porn images and videos;
- solicitation or enticing minors which includes online predators attempting to obtain sexual acts from a minor;
- revenge porn which is posting intimate photos of someone online without their consent as an act to get even with them.
- extortion or blackmail which is using threats to compel another person to give them money or property;
- computer hacking or unauthorized access which is accessing someone's computer with intent to defraud or commit a crime.
Using a Computer to Commit a Crime
When you talk about cybercrime, obviously images of internet related criminal offenses comes into your head as you think about it.
Cybercrime is basically the use of a computer to commit a crime and as you may guess, this goes back ever since the invent of computers and people getting on the internet and there's a variety of ways that people can get themselves involved in cyber related criminal offenses.
Sometimes ways you may not even think of. The crime could be something else, but because the computer is used, that's what permits the authorities to jam it under the cybercrime umbrella.
A lot of times that's a big problem, especially in federal cases, because the feds, when it comes to cybercrimes, are very viscous in the sense that they have different types of offenses and enhancements to be used to boost up somebody's time in federal prison.
Common federal cybercrimes include the following:
18 U.S.C. 2422 – coercing or enticing minors,
18 U.S.C. 2253 – child pornography,
18 U.S.C. 1028 – identity theft,
18 U.S.C. 1030 – computer hacking,
18 U.S.C. 1951 – blackmail and extortion,
Penalties for a cybercrime conviction
Of course, all federal criminal time is served at 85%, so that could be some serious punishment depending on what happens.
What I'm talking about is, if you use a computer to commit a crime, that's an enhancement.
Depending on the amount of loss, the more time that you're looking at. If it involved multiple victims, it can cause more time.
Criminal Investigation of Cybercrimes
These cybercrimes are typically sophisticated in the way that they are prosecuted and the way they are investigated by law enforcement is also sophisticated.
So, you typically have some of the toughest prosecutors of the toughest law enforcement agencies dealing with these cases, so they're going to put some manpower on it.
Most federal related cybercrime cases will be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
They're going to use search warrants. They're going to use wiretaps. They're going to use GPS tracking devices.
They're going to use whatever they have at their disposal because a lot of these cybercrimes simply cannot be investigated by state authorities because they don't have the resources or manpower to do it.
Once they stumble upon some cyber scheme, what they're going to do is they're going to typically look into it.
However, if it seems complicated and like somebody is truly committing a crime and a lot of money is involved, they're then going to dish the case off to the federal government.
Then, you're going to get agencies like the FBI, Homeland Security, the Secret Service and a host of other federal agencies that are going to jump on these cybercrime cases.
How Can I Fight Cybercrime Charges?
What you're going to need to do is hire an attorney who has a lot of experience.
I've been handling cybercrimes since the event of the internet. I've been a criminal defense attorney now for almost 30 years in Los Angeles county where my main office is based.
However, I've traveled all over the country defending people who are charged with cybercrimes and other computer related offenses.
I know what it takes to win the case and I know what it takes to mitigate the case when the government has the goods against you and is going to be able to prove the case.
Some of the most common defenses we can use against internet fraud related cases include the following:
- lack of criminal intent,
- lack of knowledge,
- illegal search and seizure,
- entrapment by police,
- mistaken identity,
- false allegation.
We will ensure that you preserve your rights against self-incrimination and unreasonable search and seizure by police.
Your constitutional rights also apply in cybercrime cases as in any other criminal proceeding.
Next Step in Your Cybercrime Defense
Cybercrime charges are serious and carry severe penalties if you are convicted. You will need to retain the best criminal defense lawyer who has the expertise to fight these charges.
We might be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for lesser charges of even a case dismissal through prefiling intervention.
So, if you're looking for the best defense as it relates to a cybercrime, you've come to the right place. Pick up the phone. Take the first step. Ask for a meeting with Ronald Hedding.
A lot of people I'm able to meet over the phone if that's more convenient for you, but I always like to meet people face to face if I can so they can really get a feel for their attorney and what I'm going to do to help you. For a free case evaluation, contact the Hedding Law Firm at (213) 542-0979.