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What is the Penal Code Statute of Limitations for Fraud in California?

Los Angeles, CA |

I was tricked into investing $250,000 with two acquaintances who said they had a real estate investment business. They gave me a contract with their company and they personally guaranteed my funds. The contract says the company would purchase real estate and fix it and sell it at a profit. In fact the guys were scammers. There was no company. They never looked for real estate much less bought any. Just kept the money. I sued and obtained a default judgment. But I learned that they intended to defraud me. That it wasn't a business deal that didn't work out. The police are not too interested and one excuse they are using is that this matter has a three year SOL and it would take them 60 days to process my report. I wrote to the DA and the US Atty and received no response.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. You have 3 years from the fraud (or discovery of the fraud) to file a civil suit. For a criminal prosecution, the statute of limitations for a felony fraud is 4 years, and for a fraud that can only be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, the SOL would be 1 year.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. I am not sure which police department told you that the statute of limitations is three years for a criminal prosecution, however, that is incorrect. Under CA state law the statute of limitations for prosecution of a fraud crime is 4 years from the discovery of the crime, or within four years after the completion of the offense, whichever is later. The penal code section which provides this information is Section 801.5.

    If you are still within this time frame you may want to contact the police again, or call the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

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