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White collar crimes: what is California restitution?

Last week on this blog, we discussed California work-at-home scams and how an individual may be accused of fraudulently acquiring funds from others with the promise of allowing them to work from home. These offenses and other white collar crimes can be heavily penalized. Society has little tolerance for those who try to steal the financial resources of others, so prosecutors often do everything they can to try to ensure a criminal defendant is convicted and subjected to the harshest penalties available under the law.

Penalties tied to a white collar criminal conviction vary based on the offense. However, it is likely that a convicted individual would face prison, fines and restitution. Fines and prison are pretty self-explanatory, but what is restitution? Restitution essentially means that the court orders a convicted individual to repay the people and businesses he or she harmed. In other words, the wrongdoer is being forced to make the victims financially whole again.

Restitution differs from fines in that restitution is paid to victims, and fines are paid to the government. Therefore, it is quite possible, if convicted of a white collar crime, that an individual can be hit with significant financial penalties that may affect them for years, perhaps even decades, to come.

Restitution highlights just how far-reaching and all-encompassing federal criminal penalties can be. Being convicted of a crime can strip an individual of his or her freedom, finances, reputation and future. With a lot to lose, those facing these types of allegations should seriously consider whether the services of a legal professional will be beneficial to their cause.

Source:, "Restitution," accessed on Aug. 22, 2015

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