Individuals may sometimes attempt to get out of paying a debt by fraudulently transferring their property. This is called fraudulent conveyance and it is against the law in the state of California. Individuals who help with this action can be charged under California Penal Code Section 531: Participating in a Fraudulent Conveyance.
You can learn more about fraudulent conveyance and the applications of PC 531 right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Find out how this charge is prosecuted and review some legal defenses for accusations of participating in a fraudulent conveyance.
Defining Fraudulent Conveyance
It’s important that you clearly understand what fraudulent conveyance is before we discuss PC 531. Fraudulent conveyance is a criminal act on its own, prosecuted under California Penal Codes 154 and 155. According to PC 154 and 155, individuals commit fraudulent conveyance by:
- Transferring or Giving Away Property in Order to Avoid
- Paying Debts to Another Person OR
- Paying Damages Associated with a Lawsuit
A fraudulent conveyance conviction can lead to fines and a period of incarceration in California.
Participating in a Fraudulent Conveyance in California
Now that you understand what fraudulent conveyance is, we can focus on PC 531 charges. Individuals in California can face charges for participating in a fraudulent conveyance if they:
- Accept the Property Being Given Away
- Claim the Property Conveyance is Legitimate While Knowing it is False
- Sell or Give Away Property That Was Fraudulently Conveyed
This means that fraudulent conveyance charges can be used to prosecute the individual trying to get rid of the property. Participating in fraudulent conveyance charges apply to any individuals that directly help an individual get rid of property to avoid paying a debt or damages.
Going Over Examples of Fraudulent Conveyance
Boost your understanding of participating in a fraudulent conveyance charges by considering the following examples:
Man A realizes he needs to file for bankruptcy. He owns three homes and doesn’t want to have to give them up to pay his debts. He decides to contact some of his friends and offers them the properties to get out of selling them. His friends agree to help, knowing of Man A’s intentions. Man A could face charges for fraudulent conveyance while his friends could be charged under PC 531.
Man B is convicted of identity theft. He previously used the funds he gained illicitly to purchase many high-ticket items, including an expensive vehicle. He signs the vehicle over to his brother to get out of having to sell it to repay the judgment against him. His brother takes the vehicle, unaware of the criminal charges. Man B can be convicted of fraudulent conveyance, but his brother may avoid a conviction because he did not realize he was participating in a criminal act.
Reviewing the Penalties for a PC 531 Conviction
The court system in California prosecutes participating in a fraudulent conveyance as a misdemeanor level offense. The results of a PC 531 conviction can include jail time and fines of up to $1,000. The court system may sometimes sentence an individual to probation instead of jail time following a PC 531 conviction.
Going Over Defenses to Participating in a Fraudulent Conveyance Charge
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can go over your case if you are accused of participating in a fraudulent conveyance. You can get legal help building a defense if you secure professional help right away. Your lawyer could protect you by working to demonstrate that:
You Didn’t Intend to Help Someone Avoid Paying Debts or Damages
Intent matters when it comes to PC 531 charges. If you didn’t know that someone was attempting to get rid of property to avoid paying a debt or damages, you could avoid a conviction for participating in a fraudulent conveyance. After all, buying or receiving property is not against the law in California.
You Believed that the Property Conveyance Was Legitimate
PC 531 charges can be brought against someone just for defending a fraudulent conveyance. However, if you legitimately believed that a property conveyance was legally appropriate because you were misled or lied to, you shouldn’t be convicted under PC 531.
Contact a Legal Professional If You Are Charged Under PC 531
You can increase your chances of beating a California Penal Code Section 531: Participating in a Fraudulent Conveyance accusation by getting professional help quickly. Speak with the Simmrin Law Group right now by calling (310) 896-2723 or filling out our online contact form.
You can even get a FREE consultation about your legal options from our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles.