Articles Posted in Computer Crimes

With much of the world’s financial activity transitioned from paper-based to online systems, cyber crimes like fraud often occur in the elder abuse context. California already punishes cyber crime and elder abuse harshly when independent from one another. When the two crimes combine into one enterprise, the penalties for conviction can be especially severe. If you have been charged with the internet-based financial exploitation of a California senior citizen, it is imperative that you contact a skilled California criminal defense attorney. With the state working to convict you, you need to mount the strongest legal defense possible.

Financial Abuse is a Type of Elder Abuse

Elders are a vulnerable and venerated part of our society. Having made it to the age of 65, these senior citizens command respect as they enjoy their golden years. When the happy times of this respected class of citizens are disturbed by criminal conduct, the law takes action. Elder abuse takes on several forms: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, endangerment, and, most relevant to our discussion here, financial abuse. Not every form of elder financial abuse is computer-based. Some forms include ordinary theft, such as taking money or property.  The same is true for the forging of an elder’s signature, or using force or duress to get an elder to sign a will, deed, or power of attorney. However, as more computer-literate generations reach the age of 65, more and more internet-based financial elder abuse occurs, whether through the inducement of elders into financial scams online, or illicitly obtaining an elder’s personal financial information to use for fraudulent online purchases. In other words, personal computers are becoming more and more prevalent in retirement communities every year as an effect of increased computer and online literacy. When internet fraud is perpetrated against an elder, the law is justified in dispensing enhanced punishments – penalties for both the act of fraud, and the perpetration of the act against an elder.

Computer or internet-related crimes include fraud, embezzlement, identity theft, and sex crimes.  If you have been charged with one of these crimes in the state of California, it is imperative that you reach out to a skilled and experienced California criminal defense attorney. To convict you of a computer or internet-related crime, the prosecutor must establish the elements necessary to make the causal connection between you and the alleged wrongdoing.  An experienced attorney will explore all avenues of reasonable doubt with regard to the elements of the criminal charge.   With your freedom and reputation at stake, rely on a skilled attorney to defend you against the charges levied by the state.

Computer fraud is prohibited on both state and federal levels. On the federal level, the crime is codified by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Under the law, computer fraud occurs when the following four elements are proved:

  • The defendant has accessed a protected computer;

Threats, even if jokingly made, on social sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Myspace can land you in hot water and charged with a crime. This is not a local story but I feel that the outcome and severity of statements made like these are very real and severe. I anticipate that prosecution for internet threats will increase dramatically in the near future! So beware what you post!

Paul Chambers, at the age of 26, made a post on Twitter stating that if his flight was delayed by the snow then he would blow up an Airport. Mr. Chambers insisted that the post he made was only a joke and that he would never blow up an airport. However, the judge found him guilty because he conveyed an offensive, indecent and obscene message over a public telecommunications networking site.

This message is important not only for Twitter, but for Facebook, Myspace, and every other public communication website, in which the message can be read by millions. Luckily, Mr. Chambers was only fined $1,500 dollars instead of time in jail for making such threats against the airline. But please know that these websites have detailed policies, and the things that you post or say on these sites can and will be used against you, especially if they are conveying messages of offensive or indecent meaning. Likewise, if you are contacted by a site investigator concerning a post do not make any statement to them without an experienced attorney.

Internet and computer crimes are on the rise! In San Diego County local law enforcement officers and a special task force raided several internet cafe’s including one in Oceanside that allegedly offered its customers illegal gambling.

Oceanside police officers served a search warrant on Lucky Bob’s Internet Cafe on Friday June 26, 2009 on Mission Ave. In San Diego other locations raided were Cafe Hong Hung, Phnom Penh Video, ’08 Wireless, and Cafe 2000.The Attorneys General’s news release claims the small businesses were operating slot machines and computer gaming which are computer crimes.

Lucky Bob’s advertised that their patrons could win more than eighteen thousand dollars in “instant cash sweepstakes.” Oceanside police did not arrest anyone at Lucky Bob’s but did confiscate gambling equipment. However, in San Diego, police arrested two people and seized more than $11,000.00.