Earlier this fall, an insurance agent in Southern California pleaded not guilty to theft charges alleging that he stole premiums in connection with a Ponzi scheme. While the defense team has not revealed the specifics of its case, the defendant is entitled to a presumption of innocence preceeding and entering his criminal trial.
The presumption of innocence requires a jury to overcome and potential biases before entering a courtroom. More importantly, it requires the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt – a steep burden that rests solely in its square. This presumption is one of the best tools that a criminal defendant has in presenting a defense.
Types of Theft Cases
Theft is the taking of one’s property without consent. While theft is generally pictured as the taking of physical property – such as removing goods from the store without paying for them – it also covers the stealing of money via misrepresentation of a product or services. For this reason, theft law actually covers a wide variety of criminal cases.
Theft cases come in many shapes and sizes, and for this reason they can quickly become complex.
Some common examples:
- Identity Theft
- Home Invasion
- Car Jacking
Defenses to Theft
The good news is that there are many different defenses that are available to the defendant being charged with theft. A theft case requires the prosecution to prove four factors beyond a reasonable doubt. [Link to November post] If the prosecution is unable to prove just one of these elements by the heavy burden, then the defendant will be acquitted.
An essential element is that the defendant needed to have the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently. This can be difficult to prove in the situation where there is an alleged Ponzi scheme that generally includes returning money to the first investors that was taken from later investors. For these reasons, it is important to formulate a strong defense strategy early on in the case in order to promote the best chance of prevailing.
If you reside in Los Angeles and have been charged with theft, you should immediately contact a qualified attorney. The Kestenbaum Law Group has thirty years of experience working in criminal theft defense and has attorneys available to discuss your case.
We invite you to call us on (818) 616-4312 to arrange a consultation to ensure that you receive the defense that you deserve.