Internet Fraud

Internet fraud covers all types of online scams. If you’re charged, you need good internet fraud defense attorneys to have the case dropped or negotiate the lightest sentence possible. 

At LibertyBell Law Group, we provide an experienced internet fraud defense lawyer in California to defend you in a court of law.

Internet fraud, or online fraud, is one of the biggest sources of crime in the United States. More than 10% of cyber fraud in the US comes from California—making prosecutors especially hard on defendants. So, you definitely need a good defense attorney by your side when you are accused of one.

What is Internet Fraud?

Internet fraud involves using online methods to convince someone to give you, or another party, something of value. 

There are three overarching categories of online scams:

  1. Fraudulent scams conducted primarily via email.
  2. Phishing usually occurs via email and involves getting sensitive information, including bank accounts and social security numbers.
  3. Unauthorized computer use to obtain data without consent.

Prosecutors must prove the following:

  1. A plan to commit fraud.
  2. The specific intent to defraud someone.
  3. The use of electronic communication to carry out the plan.

Note that the scheme need not be successful in being a crime, you can still be charged and get convicted of internet fraud by implementing the plan.

What Constitutes Internet Fraud in California?

There are many types of internet fraud in California. Most victims have a trusting nature, but advanced technology also fools savvy internet users. 

Examples of internet fraud from the more traditional categories of fraud include:


Phishing is a common form of an email-based scam involving identity theft and financial fraud. Scammers create genuine-looking emails from trusted sources.

They look legitimate and provide a valid-sounding reason why you must confirm account details. The scammers use the details to siphon off money from your account or spend it in other ways.


Spam emails have reasonable subjects that entice people to open and read the messages. 

All it takes is the click of a link to release malware or malicious software on your system and everyone on your contacts list.

Credit Card Fraud

This type of bank fraud uses online shopping as bait. Shoppers assume the retailer is trustworthy. Instead, they save your information and use it to ransack your account.

5 Types of Internet Fraud

Five primary activities constitute internet fraud in California.

1. Non-Delivery of Merchandise Fraud

In this common scam, buyers pay for online merchandise, but the retailer doesn’t send it. For example, ordering new shoes that never arrive. 

2. Advance-Fee Fraud Schemes

In an advance-fee scam, buyers find fantastic deals on expensive merchandise that must be shipped.

The seller will make the shipping arrangements for a fee, but they need an advance payment to cover the initial expense. The buyer pays, and the seller disappears with the money.

3. Real Estate Overpayment Fraud

A fraudster poses as a renter who contacts a landlord about renting their apartment. The renter tells the landlord that they live abroad but will soon move to California. The landlord agrees, and the renter sends a cashier’s check for much more than the deposit amount.

They ask the landlord to deposit the check and wire the excess money to a bank account. However, the check’s false, and the landlord loses out.

4. Prize Sweepstakes or Lottery Scams

You’re notified via email that you’ve won a prize but must pay taxes before delivery. The winner pays the fees and discovers that there never was a prize.

These scams also include the infamous Nigerian letter scam and the only living relative scam. Potential victims pay a processing fee but never receive the money. 

5. Work-From-Home or Employment Scams

Fake companies post ads for lucrative work-from-home opportunities. Applicants can start after they pay a registration fee. They pay the fee, but the company doesn’t exist.

These aren’t the only online forms of internet fraud, Examples include investment schemes, academic fraud, and wire fraud.

Internet Fraud and Its Penalties

The different types of internet fraud have different penalties, depending on the code and severity of the crime. 

In California, internet fraud falls under several codes, the Business & Professions Code 22948 which is an anti-phishing law, the Penal Code 484e which is an online credit card fraud, the 502 for unauthorized computer access, and the 530.5 for online identity theft.

The stiffest penalty for online fraud is for activities in connection with presidentially-declared natural disasters or emergencies which affect financial institutions. You may face up to 30 years in federal prison and/or a $1 million fine. It only takes one email to convict you.

Therefore, if you are facing accusations of such a crime, you want a Los Angeles internet fraud defense lawyer to create reasonable doubt that will result in your acquittal.

Penalties for Less Severe Fraud Crimes

The Anti-Phishing Act of 2005 presides over all phishing-related online crimes. Although it doesn’t include criminal penalties, victims can file a civil suit and receive damages up to $1.5 million.

Penalties for credit card fraud depend on the amount stolen:

  • Petty theft of less than $950 is a misdemeanor. Defendants face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1000.
  • Grand theft of more than $950 is a felony. Defendants face up to three years in state prison and a fine of up to $1000.

Unauthorized computer access is a wobbler offense. Prosecutors choose whether to try the crime as a misdemeanor or felony. Defendants found guilty of a misdemeanor face up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000. When found guilty of a felony, they can face up to three years in state prison and a fine of up to $5000, and restitution is mandatory.

Identity theft is also a wobbler offense. If found guilty of a misdemeanor, defendants face up to one year in county jail and a $1000 fine. If found guilty of a felony, defendants face up to three years in state prison and a fine of up to $5000. Restitution is mandatory.

How Can Internet Fraud Defense Attorneys Protect You?

LibertyBell Law Group has some of the best criminal attorneys to take your case if you’ve been charged with online fraud. Your internet investment fraud defense lawyer in Los Angeles will find the gaps in the prosecutor’s arguments, creating sufficient reasonable doubt to have the case dismissed.

Our internet fraud defense attorneys also skillfully present your case to the judge and jurors to win them over to your side. We’ll represent you with the best team of white-collar defense attorneys. For a free consultation, visit our page and contact us at LibertyBell Law Group today!

Gina Tennen


At A Glance

  • Expert legal strategist.
  • Experienced in both prosecution and defense.
  • Relentless fighter for her clients with results to prove it.
  • Received the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers Award
  • Featured in Time Magazine’s “Leaders of Criminal Defense” in the 100 Most Influential People edition.

Executive Managing Attorney Gina Tennen is a renowned leading advocate of personal liberties. Her meticulous trial preparation and exceptional ability to pursue every possible defense has earned her the admiration of clients and respect from prosecutors, judges, and other criminal attorneys all over the nation.

Lawyer Tennen began her career as a Senior Law Clerk for one of the toughest District Attorney’s offices in the country where she gained remarkable experience in juvenile crimes, elder abuse, parole hearings, child abuse, sex and other serious crimes. Her experience at the District Attorney’s Office armed her knowledge and case strategy in exploiting the other side’s weaknesses for the client’s advantage and building a rock solid defense. Criminal attorney Tennen’s experience on both sides and brilliant maneuvering throughout is evidenced in her winning track record. In fact, even before earning her law degree, she was instrumental in getting excellent results on several criminal cases outshining her peers.

A consummate strategist and top criminal attorney, lawyer Tennen works tirelessly on many high profile criminal cases. She is known as a relentless fighter who never gives up on any case. Whether the case is hers or handled by another criminal defense attorney from LibertyBell Law Group, no matter how small the case may seem she asserts that every client deserves the right to the best legal representation.

It is her deep belief and what she has built her entire career and lifelong dedication to that there is always hope for every client and every avenue should be pursued regardless of the time and energy it takes. For Los Angeles criminal lawyer, Gina Tennen, devoting the finest criminal defense for clients is a habit and talent that you must apply and do all the time.

You demand the best defense. Take hold of your life and speak to our defense attorneys by calling 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761) now.

Founder Gina Tennen and all the defense attorneys at LibertyBell Law Group uphold that when the bell rings, it rings for life and liberty for all.



Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub.


I hired Gina and her team for my son who was facing 10 years for something they said he did when he was 17 years old. Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub. She did not stop. She fought hard and was able to defend the charges. We are so grateful to her and her team. They gave us our son. He recovered his life!

– L. W.
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I hired this law firm in 2014 for my son who was facing 16 years in prison for a felony robbery. Lina Helou answered all our questions. I was extremely distraught regarding what my son was facing but Lina comforted me and told me that it would be okay. And thank goodness LibertyBell saved my son from going to jail and they were able to obtain only 3 years of probation. I could not have hired a better law firm for my son and if you want the best defense call LibertyBell Law Group. Thank God for this great group of lawyers.

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My father had found this group through his company and coworkers. I was assigned Gina Tennen and I cannot explain in just a review on how gratefull I am to be working with her. My case was an accusation of unlawful sex. This had looked extremely bad on my part since I was in a fraternity and she was in a sorority. During these times with Greek life, there are too many bad stigmas surrounding these organizations. Gina had believed in me and knew that I was innocent and that these accusations just were not true. She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence. I totally recommend this law group because they are willing to put in the work to help your situation.

– C. D.
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When I first heard I was under a criminal investigation, I initially thought I would try and resolve this in the best way possible, without legal representation, as we were all interested in a "just" outcome. I quickly discovered that was not the case and contacted Gina at LibertyBell. She clearly described the expectations and the choices available to me. She was always available to me, and when I called, if she couldn't talk with me at that time, she would quickly get back to me. Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding. Her fee's were stipulated up front, as well as what those fees covered and what they did not.

– S. B.
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Attorney Gina Tennen was on point from day one putting pressure on the sherrif's office to get things handled. With Child molestation accusatinos being thrown around Gina and Attorney Castro were great at keeping the pressure on and had no charges filled. The DCFS indications were appealed and we won with flying colors. Great service, great work, and will use again for all legal matters.

– A. B.
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Being involved in legal matters can be scary. When researching who to put my trust in, I came across Liberty and I am glad that I did. From the first time that I met with Gina and her team she made me feel comfortable and listened to all that I had to say. She assured me that her team would be on it and that they would do everything that they could! A little while in, Alan took over my case. When meeting with him you can tell that this is his passion and I immediately knew he was going to do everything in his power to make the outcome right! He was relentless and worked day and night working on the case. He kept in constant communication with me and truly cared not only about me but about my family as well. I am forever grateful for the support that this whole team has given me and would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking for truly the best lawyers!

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