Downtown Los Angeles header image
Los Angeles Police Department Memorial BadgeLos Angeles Police Department Badge

Official Site of The LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT

Metropolitan Financial Section

 Metropolitan Financial Section
100 W. 1st Street, Room 533
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 486-5920 Office
(213) 486-6099 FAX

Lt. II Theodore Edwards, Officer-in-Charge
Areas of responsibility: Central, Hollenbeck, Newton, Northeast, Rampart, Olympic, Hollywood, Wilshire, 77th Street, Southeast, Southwest and Harbor Divisions.
Note: West Los Angeles Financial Section (Pacific and West Los Angeles Divisions) are now under the guidance of MFS.
Financial Crimes Booking Advice/Approval Guide
Embezzlement
Forgery
Identity Theft


Valley Financial Section 6240
Sylmar Avenue Van Nuys, CA
(818) 374-9420 Office
(818) 374-9630 FAX

Lt. Greg Doyle, Officer-in-Charge
Areas of responsibility:
Van Nuys, West Valley, North Hollywood, Foothill, Devonshire, Mission and Topanga Divisions.
 
Embezzlement
 
Mandatory element for this crime involve the suspect being employed & entrusted with control over the finances of a company. That means having fiduciary responsibility such as; in a position of accountant, bookkeeper, accounts payable clerk, Co-Owner or Chief Financial Officer and elements of forgery & identity theft exist.

Resources:
 
The following embezzlement checklist may be requested by your assigned CCD Investigator.
Additional Crimes investigated by Metropolitan Financial or Valley Financial Section (MFS or VFS) include:
 
Illegal Credit card reader “skimmers” investigations.
 
Forged Prescriptions: Are investigated by CCD’s Complex Crime Unit. The H.A.L.T. Officer will only handle cases where there is no suspect in custody.
 
Frequently asked Questions or Concerns
•How to file a report?
•Case Categorization:
•After my report was made, nobody calls me…
•What to do after filing a police report.
•What do I need to do if I discover a forged check in my monthly statement?
•When will my case be assigned to a Commercial Crimes detective?
•Who investigates non-sufficient-fund checks (NSF) and account-closed checks?
•Who investigates burglary?
•LAPD's Commercial Crimes Division
 
1) How to file a report?
A police report of this nature would need to be filed in a police department in your area of residence. If you have any pertinent documents, take a copy of the documents with you. Your report will be forwarded to the agency that has jurisdiction where the loss or transaction occurred.
 
2) Case Categorization:
Case Categorization is primarily based upon the likelihood of prosecution, past criminal records and significant leads.
 
3) After my report was made, nobody calls me…
•A detective may or may not call you based on your report categorization. If you have additional information that would assist the detectives with your case, please contact the appropriate financial section detectives.
 
Note: Reports taken at an area police station or other law enforcement agencies; will experience a delay in reaching our section.
 
4) What to do after filing a police report.
Contact:
Contact all creditors by phone and in writing to inform them of the problem.
If your ATM card has been compromised, get a new card.
Place a special security feature (password) on all your accounts. Make it something involving numbers, letters and symbols. Most thieves would not have access to this information.
If your mail has been fraudulently changed to receive credit cards in your name, contact a postal inspector.
For Social Security Number intrusion, contact the police first then the Social Security Administration to report someone working under your number.
If someone is using your driver’s license number or name for identification, make sure to report those violations to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The (3) Major credit reporting agencies (or bureaus)
1.Equifax (www.equifax.com) (800) 525-6285
or
Write: Equifax
Consumer Fraud Division
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

2. Experian (www.experian.com)
(888) 397-3742
or
Write: Experian's National
Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
3. Trans Union(www.transunion.com)
(800) 680-7289
Or
Write: Trans Union
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634-6790
5) What do I need to do if I discover a forged check in my monthly statement?
When an account holder finds a stolen/forged, altered or counterfeit check in his/her monthly statement, he/she should go to the bank to sign an Affidavit of Forgery. The bank is the actual victim of the forgery and in most cases will sustain the loss. The bank will retain the fraudulent check, determine the jurisdiction in which the check was negotiated, and make a report with the appropriate police department.
 
6) When will my case be assigned to a Commercial Crimes detective?
 
The length of time involved in the normal processing of an Investigative Report, from the time the report is completed until it reaches a detective at Commercial Crimes Division, is seven to ten working days, due to needed clerical work. The reporting officer should explain this to the victim at the time the report is completed. The reporting Officer should also stress to the victim the importance of contacting the assigned investigator as soon as possible, only if there are leads in the case that need to be pursued.
 
7) Who investigates non-sufficient-fund checks (NSF) account-closed checks?
 
Non-sufficient-fund checks (NSF) and/or account-closed check cases occurring within the county and city of Los Angeles are now under the jurisdiction Area Detective Division. NSF checks in the amount of $20,000 dollars or more are investigated by CCD MFS or VFS.
 
•NOTE: Victims with NSF checks for less than $25.00 should file a Small Claims action against the suspect. Call 213-974-6131 for a recorded message regarding Small Claims or (323) 780-2017, for a Small Claims Advisor. See LA Superior Court Small Claims website.
 
To order copies of other LAPD reports, contact Records Unit at (213) 486-8130

Forgery
The making (signs the name of another, real or fictitious person) or alteration of a document without the authority of the uttering (presenting) of such document with the intent to defraud.
 
Crime Trends:
“Are you a victim of check fraud?” (CCD website)
 
Resources:
Common credit card identification features: Credit card verification guides for local merchants.
 
California DMV: To report a lost or stolen driver’s license. Visitors to this site may also review the new driver’s license security features.

California Attorney General’s Office: Consumer questions and complaints.
Federal Reserve Bank: Counterfeit currency detection guide.

Identity Theft
This crime occurs when key pieces of a business or person’s personal identifying information have been obtained in order to obtain goods or services under that stolen identity. The key pieces of information could include: Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, Date of Birth, Mother’s maiden name, address, and or telephone numbers. This information allows the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud. They could take over your financial accounts, open new banking accounts, obtain utility services, purchase a vehicle, apply for a loan or credit card, obtain employment, Social Security benefits and/or rent a home or apartment.
 
Victims of identity theft are entitled to a free copy of their report per Cal Penal Code 530.6(a).
Victim’s whose Identity is used on traffic citations or arrests are victims of False Personation.
False Personation involving traffic citations are handled by the traffic division where they occur.
False Personations by arrests are handled by Geographic Detectives where the arrest occurred (See Special Order No. 37, 2002.
 
Crime Trends:
Telemarketing Scams: (Move to Fraud)
 
Resources:
 
Coping with Identity Theft: (CCD website)
 
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center: Online complaint system for reporting cyber crimes (www.EC3.com).
 
Federal Trade Commission: Victim tools and consumer publications.
 
US Postal Inspector Service: Mail theft and additional consumer information.

FRAUD Section
(213) 486-6630 Office
(213) 486-8731 FAX
Lt. Carlos Solano, Officer-in-Charge
Fraud Section of Commercial Crimes Division is comprised of five separate units, each with distinct duties and areas of expertise. The units are listed below:
 
Auto Fraud Unit (AFU)
The AFU conducts investigations of automotive repair facilities and criminal rings, which consist of attorneys, medical providers, adjusters and repair shops that defraud insurance companies.
 
Elder Persons Estate Unit (EPEU)
Conducts investigations of complex fiduciary elder abuse crimes related to theft or embezzlement from elders or dependent adults when a substantial loss of the victim’s entire estate is at risk.
 
Real Estate Unit (REU)
Conducts complex real estate fraud investigations wherein the title was forged involving a property located in the City of Los Angeles, and “complex” fraudulent loan modification cases involving multiple victims and recorded documents.
 
White Collar Crime Unit (WCCU)
Conducts specialized major fraud investigations involving multiple victims and/or suspects.
Types of crimes investigated:
 Offers of Bribes or theft cases involving City employees or public officials
 Embezzlements
1.High dollar loss in excess of $300,000.00
2.Crimes involving high profile victim and/or suspect
 Complex Grand Thefts (including Ponzi and Pyramid schemes on a case by case basis).

One member of the WCCU is assigned to the Los Angeles County Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT). The HALT is responsible for investigating Illicit Pharmaceuticals, Unlicensed doctors / dentists, Medi-Cal Fraud and any type of fraudulent medical practice occurring in Los Angeles County.
 
Auto Fraud Unit
(213) 486-8734 Office
(213) 486-8731 FAX
Mission of Auto Fraud Unit:
The primary mission of this unit is to coordinate and investigate part one grand theft crimes that are related to auto insurance and auto body repair fraud on a citywide basis. The Auto Fraud Unit is responsible for analyzing and monitoring crime trends of individuals, suspects, and organizations, through statistical data such as crime and arrest reports, generated by personnel of this Department, as well as other jurisdictions. From this process, personnel assigned to the Auto Fraud Unit are able to formulate crime patterns and distinct methods of organized operations to assist with their assigned investigations. This detail is also responsible for conducting surveillance and undercover operations, which have led to the arrest and conviction of professional suspects such as attorney's and chiropractors, as well as, auto body repair owners and operators. The Auto Fraud Unit provides a level of expertise and knowledge to the personnel of this Department and to all related law and non-law enforcement agencies and groups.
 
Criminal Charges Investigated
550(a)(1) PC: Knowingly present or cause to present any false or uttered fraudulent claim for the payment of loss or injury under contract of insurance (FELONY)
550(a)(3) PC: Knowingly cause or participate in a vehicular collision, or any other vehicular accident, for the purpose of presenting any false or fraudulent claim (FELONY)
532(a) PC: Fraudulent Application (FELONY)
530.5 PC: Identity Theft (FELONY)
529 PC: False Impersonation (FELONY)
487 PC: Grand Theft (over $400.00) (FELONY)
470 PC: Forgery (FELONY)
118 PC: Perjury (FELONY) 136.1(a)(2) PC: Knowingly and maliciously prevent or dissuade a witness from testifying (FELONY)
6152 B&P: Soliciting business for an attorney in a public place (CAPPING) (MISDEMEANOR)
22513 VC: All tow trucks may not stop on a highway unless summoned (MISDEMEANOR)
636.5 PC: Interception of radio transmission to commit a criminal offense (MISDEMEANOR)
103.204(b) LAMC: Towing violation-none equipment. Tow truck (MISD)
103.204(1)(a)(1) LAMC: No LAPD Commission permit to operate (MISD)

Current Auto Insurance Fraud Scams
Swoop and Squat
Is best described as a maneuvering of two to four vehicles used to box a victim's vehicle in travel for the purpose of causing a sudden stop and flow of traffic and rear-end collision.
 
Drive down/Wave-out
Is best described as a two party traffic collision, whereby the suspect driver negotiates a turn into private or public area from the street and simultaneously relinquishes the right-of-way to an outgoing or exiting motorist. The victim acknowledges the passage and right-of-way surrendered by the suspect and proceeds into the street only to become party to a collision created the suspect.
 
Staged Collision
A Staged Collision is described as a fraudulent/deliberate traffic collision. The purpose of this scheme is to defraud an auto insurance company.

Paper Collision
Is a "counter" and or "at scene" traffic collision report that never happened.
 
Panic Stop
Is best described as a deliberate and sudden stop of one vehicle for the purpose of causing a rear-end collision.

Sideswipe
Sideswipe is described as one vehicle making side contact with another vehicle.
 
How to File a Crime Report and Traffic Collision Report
 
The Los Angeles Police Department is comprised of 21 geographic patrol divisions in addition to 3 regional traffic divisions that will accommodate any citizen wishing to report an auto fraud crime. Once the Investigative Report (IR) and or Traffic Collision (TC) Report (CHP555) is completed, the assigned geographic detective and/or the traffic collision auditor should contact and forward a copy of the written report to Commercial Crimes Division, Auto Fraud Unit for further investigation. Based on the facts as reported, the reporting officer shall title the IR "Grand Theft" or "Insurance Fraud" or "Auto Repair Fraud," or "Staged Collision."
 
If fraud is suspected upon the receipt of the TC report the reporting officer shall include the facts of the suspicions of fraud on a Narrative Supplemental (CHP556) and attach it to the CHP555. Once completed the assigned Traffic Collision Auditor shall forward a copy of the report to the Auto Fraud Unit.
 
Statute Information
The felony crimes related to auto insurance fraud carry a 4 year statute of limitation "after the discovery of the offense."

Exception: 118 PC (Perjury) carries 3 year statute of limitation "from the last act of conspiracy."
The misdemeanor crimes related to auto insurance fraud carry a 1 year statute of limitation from the "date of discovery."

Crime Prevention Tips

• Be a vigilant motorist
• Write down driver and vehicle license numbers
• Carry a disposable camera
• Have a notepad/pencil available
• Obtain insurance information from all parties involved in the TC
• Obtain names and contact info of all potential witnesses
• Always maintain all signature contracts (estimates of repair) that are offered by
any auto repair shops and or tow service.
• If you suspect fraud, contact your local law enforcement

Other Investigative Agencies
 
• Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office-Auto Insurance Fraud Division-Investigator (LADAO) (213-580-8700)
• California Department of Insurance (CDI) (323-278-5000)
• California State Bureau of Auto Repair Fraud (BAR) (310-410-0093)
• National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) (818-895-2867)
• Special Investigative Unit (SUI) Every insurance company should have this type of unit.
Elder Persons Estate Unit (213) 486-6630 Office (213) 486-8732 (FAX)
The Department has an Elder Persons Estate Unit (EPEU) within Commercial Crimes Division. The primary function of this unit is to investigate complex fiduciary elder abuse crimes when the entire estate of the victim is at risk.
 
Definitions
Elder: Any person 65 years of age or older. (California Penal Code Section 368 (g)) Dependent Adult: Any person between the ages of 18 and 64 years, who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age. A "dependent adult" includes any person who has been admitted as an in-patient to a 24-hour health care facility, as defined in California Penal Code Section 368 (h).
 
Elder Dependent Adult Fiduciary abuse: When any person violates any provision of law prohibiting theft or embezzlement of any property that they know, or should know, belongs to an elder/dependent adult. (California Penal Code Section 368(d))

INDICATORS OF POSSIBLE FINANCIAL ABUSE
Unusual activity in bank accounts, such as withdrawals from automated banking machines when the person cannot walk or get to the bank. Signatures on checks and other documents that do not resemble the elder.
Recent changes of title of house when the person is incapable of understanding the nature of the transaction. Power of Attorney given when person is unable to comprehend the financial situation, and is incompetent to grant power of attorney. Recent will when the person is clearly incapable of making a will.
 
COMMON SCAMS
•Home Repair Fraud
•Charity Scams
•Sweepstakes and Lottery Winners
•Sweetheart Swindle
•Most people think that they cannot be tricked, fooled or conned into handing over money.
•However, it happens. Con artists are experts on human psychology and behavior. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
•Some statements to alert you to fraud and interne/telemarketing con games are:

"You must act now!"
"You've won a free gift or vacation!"
"Pay only postage and handling!"
"You must first send money, provide a credit card number, or a bank account number!"
FACTORS TO DETERMINE WHERE A CRIME OCCURRED
The location of occurrence is the victim's residence at the time of the incident. Report to local Law Enforcement Agency.
OTHER AGENCIES
Adult Protective Services
Centralized Intake Unit
(888) 202-4248
(877) 477-3646 (After hours)
 
The California Welfare and Institutions Code requires the mandated reporter to make a report whenever, in his/her professional capacity or within the scope of his/her employment, the following occur:

1.The reporter observes or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be abuse, or
2.The reporter is told of an incident by the victim, or
3.The reporter reasonably suspects abuse. Mandated reporters include persons who have assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not they are compensated for their services. Also included are administrators, supervisors and licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elders or dependent adults, and elder or dependent adult care custodians, health practitioners, employees of county financial institutions, clergy members, and employees county adult protective services agencies and local law enforcement agencies.

Long Term Care Ombudsman
(800) 334-9473
(800) 231-4024 (After hours)
When the abuse or neglect is suspected to have occurs in a long-term care facility.

Real Estate Fraud Unit (REFU)
Real Estate Fraud Unit (REFU)
(213) 486-6620 Office
(213) 486-8731 FAX
Conducts complex real estate fraud investigations wherein the title was forged and "complex" fraudulent loan modification cases involving multiple victims. The property in question must be in the City of Los Angeles. The REFU will investigate rent scam incidents and complex loan modifications on a case by case basis.

Prevalent scams: Real Property crimes take on many forms such as suspects who forge signatures on Grant and Quitclaim Deeds. They then use these documents to commit loan fraud to obtain money from equity in the home.
 There are suspects who seek out abandoned homes in foreclosure, change the locks and rent or sell them to unsuspecting victims.
Suspects also con the unsuspecting elderly victims out of their homes through forgery, home repair/remodeling schemes and large scale investment pyramid schemes involving real property.

How to file a crime report: If you believe you are a victim of real estate fraud, please contact your nearest Police station and report your crime. Prepare a written explanation of what occurred. Your explanation should include:
1. Please provide the officer with a brief overview of the events that took place.
2. The names, addresses and telephone numbers of the people and companies involved.
3. Copies of all documents you signed or that were given to you, including grant deeds, quitclaim deeds. reconveyance, notes, contracts, escrow instructions and statements.
4. Copies of cancelled checks, or money orders (both front and back) that you gave in payment or that were given to you as payment

The location of the Crime
The jurisdiction for Real Estate related crimes is based upon the location of the property that has been transferred through a forged/fraudulent deed. The address for the involved property should the location of Occurrence. The property in question must be in the City of Los Angeles.

Penal Code Sections used in Real Estate Fraud
If a forged or fraudulent document has been recorded with the County Recorder Office, there is a violation of 115 (a) PC, a felony. Other Sections
• Forgery 470 P.C.
• Grand Theft 487 (a) P.C.
• False Financial Statements 532 (a) 1 P.C.
Crime Prevention Tips
• When you are suspicious act quickly, don't minimize or disregard mailed notifications. - pertaining to your unit's responsibilities.
• Monitor the status of your property for any unexplained changes in title either by going to the County Recorder's Office or asking a real estate professional to assist you via the Internet.
• Check out the real estate licensee you are dealing with on the DRE website for any complaints or disciplinary actions.
• Ask questions and verify if what is told to you is correct, you don't have to rush into anything.

Resources for Real Estate Fraud
There are many avenues you may need to pursue: Criminal, Civil Lawsuit, Consumer Affair or Department of Real Estate Complaints.
California Department of Real Estate
320 W 4th Street, Suite 350 Los Angeles, CA 90013
213-897-3399

The Department of Real Estate license, regulates and investigates complaints about real estate brokers, salespersons and some mortgage brokers and escrow.

Los Angeles County Bar Association
 P.O. Box 55020 Los Angeles, CA 90055
213-243-1525

The Bar Association can help consumers find lawyers that deal specifically with real estate cases. Department of Corporations Financial Services Division 320 W 4th Street, Suite 750Los Angeles, CA 90013 213-576-7500

DOC regulates some escrow companies and the sale of securities, such as fractionalized deeds of trust and verifies the licenses of mortgage bankers.
 Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs
Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 W Temple Street, Room B96 Los Angeles, CA 90012
800-973-3370

 The Department of Consumer Affairs can assist with complaints of real estate fraud and other consumer issues. Bet Tzedek Legal Services 145 S. Fairfax Ave. Suite 200 Los Angeles, CA 90036 323.939.0506 Bet Tzedek is Hebrew for the "house of justice" is a community law office staffed by volunteers. Bet Tzedek is one of the nation's premier legal services organizations, providing free legal assistance.

Legal Aid Foundation of LA
1102 Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tel: (323) 801-7991
The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) provided legal assistance for low income people in Los Angeles.

Burglary Special Section
Lt. Silva Atwater, Officer-in-Charge
(213) 486-6949 Office (213) 486-8754 FAX

Art Theft Detail
Burglary
Pawn/Metal Unit
The Safe Detail


Art Theft Detail investigates all thefts and burglaries when fine art is the primary object of attack. The detail also investigates fakes, frauds, and forgeries involving art. This unit has citywide authority and assists in protecting the artistic, cultural, and historical heritage of a city. It is the only full-time law enforcement unit in the United States devoted to the investigation of art crimes.
 
The Art Theft Detail targets suspects who prey upon artists, art dealers, and collectors. The unit maintains close contact with the art community and provides stolen art information to galleries, art dealers, auction houses, museums, art associations, publications, and other law enforcement agencies, locally, nationally, and internationally.

The Burglary Unit conducts burglary investigations that are on a case by case basis pending the direction of the Commanding Officer, Commercial Crimes Division, or the Chief of Detectives.

The Burglary Unit conducts city-wide complex and/or serial burglary investigations involving multiple victims and suspects, spanning across multiple geographic areas.

Types of Crimes Investigated:
*Serial burglary investigations with a distinct Modus Operandi.
*Prolonged investigation is required.
*Connection to a major city-wide problem.
*The investigative resources required exceed geographic area detective division capabilities.
*Crimes involving high profile victims(s) and/or suspect (s)

The Pawn and Metal Unit investigate and monitors the following businesses and dealers to ensure compliance with Police Commission’s permit rules and regulations: antique shops; junk collectors; junk dealers; pawnbrokers; secondhand book dealers; secondhand general property dealers; secondhand jewelry stores; swap meets; and, metal/wire reclamation centers. The BPU coordinates information involving stolen merchandise sold or pawned to any of the above businesses and dealers and has citywide responsibility for the investigation, supervision, and inspection of 96 junkyards and scrap metal dealers. The BPU also investigates pawnshop applicants and coordinates Property "Hold" Releases at pawnshops. As an additional duty, the BPU investigate hotel room burglaries and hotel room thefts committed in major hotels. This does not include motels, residential hotels, or transient rooming house-type hotels.

The Safe Detail has citywide responsibility for investigating burglaries when a safe, vault or automated teller machines (ATM) is the primary object of attack. The detectives assigned to the detail are registered and certified safe technicians. The detectives are frequently called upon to give expert testimony and are certified instructors for DOJ. They respond to open locked safes and vaults during search warrant services. They also provide telephonic advice and respond to off-hour call outs 24
hours a day. The Safe Detail frequently assists the Bomb Squad, Gun Detail, Major Narcotics, and other specialized divisions, including FBI, Customs, and ATF.


INTERESTING FACTS