California Penal Code Section 332, gaming fraud or gambling fraud is obtaining another person’s money or property through use of any game, device, sleight of hand, pretensions to fortune telling, trick or any instrument. Gaming or gambling fraud falls under and is considered as theft crime in California.
The California Penal Code, under section 332 establishes the elements that the prosecution must prove to a conviction someone of this crime, the main requirements are the following:
- Acted with action intent to defraud another person’s.
- Obtain money or property.
- Through “three card monte”, betting, gambling or pretensions to fortune-telling.
Prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt for convicting a person of fraudulent gaming:
- Defendant fraudulently obtain another person’s money or property;
- Defendant did so by use of any game, device, sleight of hand, pretensions to fortune telling, trick or any instrument. It is not prohibited to play the games, in case a person commits a fraud and got money from other one through a game in an unlawful manner.
“Acting Fraudulently” in California Game or Gambling Fraud
Acting fraudulently means acting dishonestly and with bad faith, as cheating, misleading and otherwise gaining an unfair advantage for the victim. In case a person won in a game, without playing tricks he can’t be guilty of game fraud. Defendant must be involved in a game where the victim doesn’t have a chance to win as a result of the game. An important element of the legal definition of gaming/gambling fraud is that the defendant must win money or property from the victim.
What is Considered as “Property” for Purposes of California Penal Code Section 332?
California Penal Code Section 332 acknowledges that games do not always include cash, or other tangible property. Property for purposes of Section 332 includes chips, markers, tokens, or anything else which has a monetary value.
Legal Defenses to California Penal Code 332
Common legal defenses to California Penal Code 332 include the following:
- Lack of intent to defraud
Prosecution shall be able to prove is that the defendant had a specific intent to defraud the victim. In case the defendant lacks of fraudulent intent, he can’t be found guilty of this offenses.
- First amendment defense
If the offense was through the fortune telling or any other similar activity then a first amendment defense can be used, and the defendant can argue that he was exercising his right to free speech. Though, there can be circumstances when fortune tellers can be criminally liable under this statute in case their conduct goes beyond entertainment and actually involves fraud.
Penalties for California Penal Code Section 332 Game/Gambling Fraud
Potential penalties for California Penal Code 332 gaming or gambling fraud depend on the monetary value of the property that the defendant obtained from the victim. If the money or the total value of the stolen property is $950 or less the gaming/gambling fraud can only be charged as a misdemeanor. In case the total value of the property is more than $950 then the fraud is treated as a wobbler and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Penalties for California Penal Code 332 Misdemeanor Conviction
Potential penalties for misdemeanor Penal Code 332 gaming or gambling fraud conviction in California include the following:
- Up to six months in a county jail in case the value of property is $950 or less,
- Up to one year in a county jail in case the value of property is more than $950; and/or
- Fine of up to $1,000
- Misdemeanor probation
Penalties for Felony Penal Code 332 Conviction
Potential penalties for felony Penal Code 332 gaming or gambling fraud conviction in California include the following:
- Sixteen months, two or three years in a county jail and/or
- Fine up to $5,000 for a first offense, or up to $10,000 for a second or subsequent offenses
- Felony probation
California Gambling Defense Lawyer
Our California gambling defense lawyers are here to answer any questions If you or a loved one has been charged with Penal Code 332 PC gaming or gambling fraud and you would like to discuss your case confidentially with one of our California criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact our criminal defense lawyers at (310) 943-1171.