Rachel Marie Smith (30), a San Francisco resident, was convicted and sentenced to two years of jail time recently. Smith was found guilty of swindling 18 people who approached her to rent her apartment. She collected $110,000 from her dealings.
She pleaded guilty to three counts of grand theft and while being sentenced in the San Francisco Superior Court, the Judge made her eligible to be released in approximately a year. In addition to the jail time, she is also required to repay the victims and replace the money that she had stolen from them.
Smith’s Modus Operandi
Smith used Craigslist, a website for classified advertisements, to attract potential victims. Her advertisement stated that she wanted to rent out her apartment situated in Outer Richmond, 5600 Block, California Street, near 18th Avenue. She was still the tenant at that time.
She convinced 18 people to sign leases with her and each of them gave her $5,500 approximately for the security deposit and the first month’s rent. After this, Smith told them that they couldn’t move into the apartment on the agreed date because her mother was battling cancer.
Smith was arrested in July, 2010 after two victims compared notes and discovered her scheme. The criminal system and a San Francisco Criminal Lawyer took over from this point.
What is Grand Theft?
Grand theft is the unlawful theft of another person’s property or money over a value which has been statutorily defined. It is different from petty theft in which the value stolen is below the limit which defines it as grand theft.
According to California Penal Code 487 PC, punishment is decided according to what the circumstances were and the criminal history of the defendant. Depending on this, it could be filed either as a misdemeanor or a felony. What distinguishes it from false pretenses and embezzlement is that the theft of property is usually accomplished without the victim’s knowledge or consent. It is also necessary for there to be a carrying-off. Unlike burglary, it doesn’t require breaking and entering.
To find out more about San Francisco White Collar Criminal Defense, contact Mr. Morales today and get a free consultation.