Identity Theft

Identity Thief Uses Missing Childrens’ Names (18 US Code §1028A)

In this, the digital age, it’s not uncommon for people to worry about their identities being stolen.  Someone manages to access your personal information and, suddenly, your bank account is empty, your credit card company is calling you, asking about charges you never made, and your entire world seems to be turned upside down.  Identity theft is a serious crime; it can ruin a person’s reputation, besides making their financial future difficult.  However, it is a common enough occurrence – heck, there’s even a motion picture comedy entitled, “Identity Thief” which pokes fun at the fact that this kind of...

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DNA on Stamp Leads to Arrest of Ex-County Supervisor in Santa Clara

Typically, we hear about DNA-related evidence in cases of rape or other such crimes.  Rarely is DNA evidence used in cases of fraud.  But, this is exactly what happened when George Shirakawa, Jr. (ex-Santa Clara County Supervisor) sent illegal campaign mailers to unsuspecting citizens of Santa Clara County in 2010. At that time, the City Council race was tight and the mailers that were sent connected former candidate Magdalena Carrasco with the Vietnamese government – and suggested that she was a communist. Shirakawa was charged with impersonating a City Council candidate (CA Penal Code §528-§539), which could land him with a...

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Refinement of Plea Bargain Agreement in California Supreme Court

Usually, plea bargaining is the purview of prosecutors in criminal cases, but recently the California Supreme Court has unanimously determined that judges may inform defendants of their possible sentence if they plead guilty to the charges against them.  This dangerous precedent has caused quite a stir in the state and has  completely re-defined the roles of judges and attorneys.  A balance is meant to exist between the court’s representative, the judge, and the attorneys dealing with the case.  Normally, judges are meant to be impartial, upholding the law that already exists – not creating new laws or acting as lawyers...

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