BMT International Security Services has held itself out to be a company that provides excellent security services due to its years in the business. However, a recent investigation into the company’s chief executive (name withheld to protect the accused) and other higher ups at BMT has resulted in the arrest of 7 persons. Oakland law enforcement officials carried out a raid this past week in West Oakland, where BMT’s headquarters is located, in a building marked “Elijah’s University, Institute of Islamic Studies.” The group has been in operation for at least 4 years, managing to gain contracts with the likes of the Los Angeles Housing Authority, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Alameda County. They were recently considered for several contracts with the city of Oakland itself. The Oakland district attorney’s office claims to have evidence that representatives of BMT were neither licensed nor properly trained, often putting forward false proof of insurance for the inspection of their potential clients. Additionally, BMT’s chief financial officer (name withheld to protect the accused) pretended to have completed degrees at Golden Gate University, Harvard, and Princeton. He also falsely held himself out to have worked closely with the FBI, the Secret Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The case involves 44 felony counts relating to various crimes such as forgery, grand theft (CA Penal Code 487), identify theft, and payroll tax evasion.
If any of the above BMT executives are convicted merely on a felony forgery account, they may be looking at extremely harsh penalties. California Penal Code 470 is the state law that addresses forgery. In order to commit the crime of forgery, a person must intentionally seek to defraud another person or group by either forging another person’s name, falsifying documents, or presenting false documents as the real McCoy. In California, the crime of forgery is a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it is up to prosecutors to determine whether they will treat it as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor count of forgery, an individual may face up to 1 year in prison, whereas conviction on a felony count may end in 3 years of incarceration for each instance.