Articles Posted in Robbery

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Funnily enough, if you stole a copy of Grand Theft Auto V (set in Los Angeles) you would be charged with petty theft in Burbank. grand-theft-auto-5-los-angeles-petty-theft.jpg

GT5 is a marketing phenomenon, for sure. But the underlying messages – both subtle and not so subtle – are pretty disturbing. The debate about video games, like GT5, that glorify violence and criminal activity, has been going on for decades. Some science suggests that kids (and adults) who play violent video games wind up acting violently themselves and committing crimes.

Of course, in observational science, it is difficult to determine causality. For instance, maybe kids from broken or violent homes play more video games. Their background could explain why video game playing might associate with violence. (In this case, the video games wouldn’t be the cause of the aggression but rather just an association.)

This Burbank theft crime blog is obviously too small to begin to articulate the many points and counterpoints in the “do videogame cause violence?” debate.

But it is useful to consider another strange feature of the game: Southern California freeways that are almost eeriely absent of cars and traffic. The game’s ghostly quiet streets recall the strange calm that happened during “Carmageddon.” It would probably be difficult to create a fun game, if players had to contend with real world obstacles, like bumper to bumper traffic, high gas prices, and the constant threat of drivers texting on cell phones veering into your lane.

This observation is interesting, in that it suggests that traffic conditions might influence the behavior of real world Grand Theft Auto in Los Angeles. Someone who ordinarily might NOT commit a crime could be inspired to steal a car, if opportunity presented and the context made sense. It suggests that context can have a profound effect on criminal behavior.

So if you’re trying to explain (or even just understand) your conduct, don’t just look at your own experiences, psychology and behavior. Also, consider the CONTEXT of your incident and arrest.

If that sounds complicated, it is!

Fortunately, you do not have to tackle your Los Angeles criminal defense by yourself. An experienced Burbank petty theft lawyer with the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers is standing by to provide a free and confidential consultation to help you get to the root of your charges and defend accurately against them.

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If you’ve been arrested for a Los Angeles petty theft crime, such as shoplifting, you obviously want to avoid a misdemeanor charge. If you’re convicted for shoplifting… and then caught and convicted for shoplifting again, two years from now, prosecutors can charge the second shoplifting as a felony crime. petty-theft-los-angeles-tide.jpg

That means you can wind up behind bars for a year or longer, just for stealing a shirt or a bottle of Tide from CVS or 7-Eleven.

Consider that sobering fact as we journey (virtually) to New Zealand, where a 33-year-old school teacher, Marina Murray, just pled guilty to theft for the eighth time in just a few years. According to a local paper, The Herald, Murray is a kleptomaniac. That is, she has a psychological condition that effectively compels her to steal. She’s been convicted of theft multiple times – in February 2004, July 2005, twice in 2008, three times in 2010. In her latest theft binge, she took Cadbury chocolate, two erasers, two pencils, and two dishcloths, and some other sundries. Not a “huge load,” but enough to get her another conviction.

Not everyone guilty of a petty theft in Los Angeles, New Zealand, or elsewhere has kleptomania.

Sometimes, social pressure is enough to turn an ordinarily upstanding citizen into a thief.

To wit, KABC reports that 12 school workers in Inglewood, Linwood, and Bellflower have been indicted and charged with stealing thousands of textbooks from Los Angeles city schools. Prosecutors believe that Corry Frederick, a 43-year-old book buyer, recruited the workers to steal books from schools in order to resell them on Amazon. In total, LAUSD lost 6,000 to 7,000 textbooks to the theft. Frederick allegedly paid the workers nearly $200,000 in bribe money.

The school district lashed out at the employees: “We are outraged by the alleged behavior of these employees, which is equivalent to stealing directly from our students.”

The people named in the theft ring pled not guilty to felony charges of accepting bribes and embezzlement. The names do not exactly read like a “who’s who” of a typical criminal syndicate:

• 36-year-old Veronica Clanton-Higgins, a Lynwood Unified School District librarian, allegedly took over $14,000 from Frederick;
• 46-year-old Shari Stewart, an Inglewood Unified School District librarian, allegedly took $4,200 in checks from Frederick;
• Vincent Browning; a warehouse supervisor for Bellflower Unified, collected allegedly nearly $48,000 from Frederick;
• 54-year-old Frank Fuston, an Inglewood Unified School District plant manager, allegedly collected $1,100 in money from Frederick;
• Seven other employees at University High School, Webster Middle School, Locke High School, Venice High School, Audubon Middle School, Perry Middle School, Santee Education Center also allegedly participated.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey called the ring “a web of deceit at our children’s expense” and lashed out that “taking books out of the hands of public school children is intolerable, especially when school employees sell them for their own personal profit.” Frederick himself faces the most stringent charges, including 12 embezzlement counts and 13 counts of bribery.

If you’ve been arrested for grand theft in Los Angeles or petty theft in Southern California, you, too, may be up against a felony charge.

So what should you do?

Step one is to formulate a good defense by connecting with a reputable, seasoned Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Mr. Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers is an ex-prosecutor who spent 14 years “on the other side” helping to put criminals behind bars. Today, in his role as a Glendale criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Kraut represents people like you and helps them devise sound, ethical strategies to defend against charges and move forward with their lives.

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Rob Kardashian’s Los Angeles petty theft and battery case has earned him time in the limelight, but odds are that his spotlight-hungry sisters are not particularly jealous. Kardashian-petty-theft-west-hollywood.jpg

In March, Kardashian — the youngest child of Kris Jenner and lawyer Robert Kardashian — allegedly swiped camera equipment from a photographer in the parking lot of a West Hollywood gym. Per reports, he was retaliating for her attempt to take shirtless pictures of him. He allegedly grabbed the memory card from the camera and told that he would pay for the card later.

According to celebrity news sources, Rob was undergoing a weight loss program, which might have explained why he wanted to keep the shirtless pictures out of the news. Andra Vaik, the photographer, subsequently sued the reality star.

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If you stand accused of a charge like grand theft or petty theft in Los Angeles, pay attention to the following analysis of two recent news stories: their lessons could prove valuable as you construct your defense.junior-pomee-los-angeles-petty-theft.jpg

Our first case concerns 36-year-old Veronica Niko of Lancaster, who recently pled guilty to Los Angeles identity theft and tax fraud in federal court. The former L.A. County worker allegedly stole $357,000; she could face 15 years behind bars. The Internal Revenue Service accuses Niko of stealing the SSN numbers and names of 64 people while working for the City of Lancaster. She then used that information to submit false refund claims to the Internal Revenue Service. Niko conspired with her husband and three other people, two of whom have trials pending. Niko’s husband and one other person have pled guilty to the conspiracy charges, and both await sentencing.

This real life Los Angeles identity theft case comes at a relatively ironic time — just as Universal Pictures’ “Identity Theft” is hitting the theaters.

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As someone who was recently arrested for petty theft in Los Angeles, you want to avoid serious penalties, such as prison time, a criminal record, massive fees, and humiliation. beautiful-existence-lessons-for-los-angeles-theft.jpg

Whether you’re a starving UCLA student who helped himself to “free” convenience store food or a hardened recividist offender, you have some potent choices to make about your future.

• Will you retain a high caliber Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to represent your interests and structure an effective defense?

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You’ve been recently arrested and booked on charges of petty theft in Los Angeles. Whether you pilfered a few bottles of Tide from a CVS or Walgreens or stole a small piece of jewelry to pawn or give away as a gift, you may or may not be taking your legal situation seriously. any-winehouse-wedding-dress-theft-los-angeles.jpg

On the other hand, you understand that you’re in trouble. If convicted of a misdemeanor theft crime in Southern California, you could face disaster if you ever get arrested and convicted again. Just two convictions of Los Angeles petty theft – even separated by years! – allows prosecutors to hit you with a felony, which could land you behind bars for over a year.

In the short-term, you could also face substantial and immediate problems, such as a steep fine, public humiliation, and even jail time. And that’s not even counting the indirect fallout. For instance, perhaps you stole from your employer, in which case you’ll likely get fired. If it takes you another three months to find a new job, that means that you’ll “miss out” on three months worth of wages – which could add up to thousands of dollars and indirectly lead to even more problems, such as credit card debt, creditor harassment, and on and on.

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Los Angeles petty theft is a crime in which someone takes money or property that’s worth $400 or less. Both shoplifting and petty theft are charged according to California Penal Code Section 484 PC. petty-theft-los-angeles.jpg

If you’re convicted of this misdemeanor, life can quickly become quite unpleasant. Depending on what you stole, you could face huge fines, forced restitution to the person you stole from, half a year in jail, community service, probation, counseling, and more. But that’s not the beginning of your woes – or even close. In fact, if you have a prior conviction for Los Angeles petty theft, prosecutors can leverage another law, Penal Code Section 666, to elevate misdemeanor theft into a felony. In other words, say you get convicted of petty theft for shoplifting some shoes. Then, years later, you commit a second petty theft — swiping lottery tickets, let’s say. The prosecutor can try to hit you with a felony charge the second time around. If he or she succeeds, not only will you face the same penalties we discussed above (just writ larger), but you could also face up to three full years behind bars!

And it’s not just a second theft arrest that you need to worry about. If you ever get arrested again for other crimes – even crimes having nothing to do with theft, fraud, larceny, etc. – you may face stiffer penalties thanks to your criminal history.

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Last Tuesday, a jury convicted Pastor Christopher Iruke in a multimillion dollar Los Angeles healthcare fraud case. Iruke, an employee, and Iruke’s wife were nailed on charges of healthcare fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud for devising and carrying out a scam that bilked Medicare for $14 million.pastor-medicare-fraud.jpg

A story last week in the Los Angeles Times painted a vivid picture of Iruke’s last moments before his arrest. As federal authorities zeroed in on his fraud ring, the pastor of a South LA storefront church started to “shove pages upon pages of incriminating evidence into a shredder until the machine overheated. He then stuffed papers into the toilet and tried flushing his problems away…the documents linked him to bogus prescriptions for power wheelchairs for which he billed the government about $6,000 a piece, prosecutors alleged.”

Prosecutors said that the pastor collected about $6.6 million in reimbursements from the false claims (out of $14.2 million in claims filed) and that “the money funded a lavish lifestyle, including several luxury cars, international travel, and about $0.5 million remodeling on his Baldwin Hills home.”

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On Tuesday, a shocking “not guilty” verdict was handed down in the “Trial of the Century” murder trial of Casey Anthony, stunning the Los Angeles violent criminal defense community along with the rest of the world.Casey-Anthony-verdict.jpg

In case you have been living in a cable news vacuum (in which case, good for you), here’s a quick recap. In 2008, the defendant, Casey Anthony, allegedly killed her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, and then went out partying right afterwards.

Motivated by the particularly grisly inhuman-ness of the alleged crime, prosecutors sought to convict Ms. Anthony on a capital murder charge. This could have resulted in her execution, had she been convicted. But the jury found her not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter (although she was convicted for several lesser offenses).

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A new Minnesota Public Radio report has public health authorities, economists, and bloggers who focus on issues like Southern California Medicare fraud alike analyzing and chatting about powerful charges against a couple from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. medicare-fraud-4.jpg

Anita and Stephen Soledolu — co-owners of a home healthcare service — allegedly submitted Medicare claims that did not have documentation. Prosecutors allege that the couple bilked Minnesota for over $864,000. The Soledolus face indictments on six felony counts. Each one could be hit with six decades behind bars and penalties of $300,000.

According to a Minnesota Public Radio report: “The Soledolus submitted claims for home care of Medicaid recipients when investigators found clients weren’t home.”

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