White Collar sentence enhancements mean big penalties for big crimes

California has notoriously harsh penalties for white collar crimes involving large amounts of money. Anyone fighting a white collar case as a defendant should be aware of these sentence enhancements because they can substantially increase the prison term one may have to serve. There are two basic sentence in enhancements under California Law that can increase the prison term for defendants facing white collar charges; “The Great Taking” and the “Aggravated White Collar Enhancement.”

The Great Taking Enhancement

Under California Penal Code § 12022.6, defendants face mandatory and consecutive additional prison time when the amount of loss to the victim is extraordinarily high. While this enhancement is generally used in white collar offenses, it is not limited to them. It can be used in ANY offense where the victim suffers a monetary loss.

  • An additional 1 year prison if the victim’s loss exceeds $65k.

  • An additional 2 years prison if the victim’s loss exceeds $200k.

  • An additional 3 years prison if the victim’s loss exceeds $1.3 million.

  • An additional 4 years prison if the victim’s loss exceeds $3.2 million.

The Aggravated White Collar Enhancement

Unlike the “Great Taking,” the “Aggravated White Collar” enhancement applies only to white collar offenses. The code specifically requires that the defendant commit “two or more related felonies, a material element of which is fraud or embezzlement, which involve a pattern of related felony conduct…” Penal Code § 186.11.

  • Under this enhancement, defendant’s face an additional 2, 3 or 5 years (judge’s discretion) for crimes where the amount taken exceeds $500k

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