Orange County College Administrator Pleads Guilty to Fraud

by Randy Collins on July 24, 2013

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Identity Theft CaliforniaAccording to the San Francisco Gate, a former administrator for an Orange County community college has pleaded guilty for fraud charges amounting to more than $45,000 in financial aid money.  Anna Catalan was able to strike a plea deal with prosecutors in federal court and faces a recommended prison term of nearly two years and $88,000.00 in restitution.

Federal prosecutors assigned to the case allege that Catalan was able to obtain the money by stealing student-aid checks and endorsing them with fraudulent signatures. Catalan was reported to have several $600 checks that were made out to students in error. The money was supposed to help aid farm workers and their families.

Fraud Penalties and Fines in California

There are several types of fraud, many of which carry different penalties and fines depending upon the different circumstances as well as the state in which the offense took place. In Catalan’s circumstance, forgery and identity theft charges alone could have amounted to years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. The following are potential penalties and fines for those who commit identity theft or forgery in the state of California:

Identity Theft

–          Identity theft is committed when someone pretends to be someone else for use in an unlawful manner. In California, identify theft is known throughout the legal community as a “wobbler” offense. This means that those who commit identity theft could be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the specific circumstances of their case. A felony could result in up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines. A misdemeanor identity theft offense could result in a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.


–          Signing someone else’s name or presenting a false document as being genuine is considered forgery. If convicted of forgery in California, a person can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony as this is also considered a “wobbler offense. A misdemeanor can result in up to a year in prison and a felony can result in up to three years in prison.

In Catalan’s case, her ability to strike a plea bargain with the prosecution may have helped to avoid worse penalties. In most cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney can attempt to create a mutually beneficial agreement between the defense and prosecution allowing a defendant to serve a determinate jail sentence instead of facing an unpredictable judge or jury in trial.

California Fraud Defense

Those facing fraud charges in California are advised to seek counsel from an experienced attorney. My firm provides anyone accused or arrested for fraud a free confidential case evaluation to evaluate any options available. Call 949-250-6097 to take advantage of a free consultation with no obligation to retain our services.


Randy Collins
Randy Collins is an Orange County, California criminal defense attorney that assists those who have been charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. When I am not assisting people with their legal matters I enjoy sports, legal research, and spending time with my family.
Randy Collins
Randy Collins

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