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Felonious Filings

In October, I wrote about a warning from the Secretary of State regarding business theft.  One way to steal a corporation's identity is to make a false filing with the Secretary of State listing yourself as an officer.  While this can be an initial step in an even bigger crime, such as grand theft, the filing itself is a crime (even if it is not signed under penalty of perjury).

Penal Code Section 115(a) provides that "Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony."  The statute further provides that each filing is a separate offense.

For those who question whether anyone is prosecuted for this offense, see People v. Greenlaw, 2010 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1122 (2010).  In that case, the defendant was acquitted of a grand theft charge, but was convicted for filing a false statement of officers with the Secretary of State's office.

In 2003, legislation was enacted making it unlawful for any person to knowingly, among other things, make a false entry in any record, document or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the administration or enforcement of the Corporate Securities Law.  Corporations Code § 25404(a).  This statute is derived from Section 802(a) of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 (codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1519).

While a felony conviction is serious business, California does have a sense historicity, if not eccentricity, when it comes to liars. The California State Park and Recreation Commission has actually registered this historical landmark in honor of Thomas "Peg Leg" Smith, a 19th century prospector known for his prevarications, if not outright lies.

 

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