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Penal Code 154 PC – Fraudulent Conveyance – California Law

By Spodek Law Group | July 12, 2021
(Last Updated On: March 19, 2023)

Last Updated on: 19th March 2023, 01:34 am

Understanding Fraudulent Conveyance in California Law – Penal Code 154 PC

When it comes to dodging debtors, some people resort to cunning schemes that can lead them to commit a white-collar crime known as fraudulent conveyance. This kind of offense is punishable under the California Penal Code 154 PC and involves unlawfully getting rid of one’s property or assets to avoid paying off one’s creditors.

The Crime of Fraudulent Conveyance Under Penal Code 154 PC

In California, fraudulent conveyance is defined under Penal Code 154 PC as the act of fraudulently transferring, selling, assigning, or hiding one’s property with the intention to defraud, hinder, or delay one’s creditors from receiving their rightful claims, rights, or demands. The offense is categorized as a misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year or a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

Examples of Fraudulent Conveyance

Some common examples of fraudulent conveyance include:

  • Giving away an asset that could be used to pay off a debt, instead of selling it
  • Gifting an asset to a family member or friend to avoid having to sell it and use the profits to pay off a debt
  • Transferring assets to a third party or concealing them to make it look like one is insolvent or has no assets

If you’re charged with fraudulent conveyance under Penal Code 154 PC, you may be able to raise certain legal defenses, including:

  • Show that you had no intention to avoid paying your creditor’s claim
  • Acted out of necessity
  • Were arrested after an unauthorized search and seizure uncovered badges of fraud

Penalties on Conviction

If convicted of fraudulent conveyance, you may face a range of penalties, depending on the circumstances of your case. For a misdemeanor offense, the maximum penalty is one year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the fraudulent conveyance involves stock in trade valued at more than $250, the crime will be charged as a felony, and you may face imprisonment in the California state prison for 16 months, two years, or three years.

When dealing with debt and creditors, it’s essential to avoid any fraudulent conveyance schemes that may lead to criminal charges. If you’re facing a Penal Code 154 PC charge, consult a criminal defense lawyer to understand your legal options and build an effective defense strategy.

Understanding Fraudulent Conveyance under California Penal Code 154 PC

Fraudulent conveyance, as defined by California Penal Code 154 PC, refers to the act of transferring assets such as money, property, or personal possessions with the intention of preventing creditors from accessing and utilizing these assets to repay debts owed to them. In order to be considered a fraudulent conveyance, the transferor must have the actual intent to hinder, make it more difficult, or delay the payment to their creditors.

It’s important to note that the definition of “property” in this context is broad and can encompass a wide range of assets, including but not limited to real estate, jewelry, vehicles, and stocks. Additionally, fraudulent conveyances may result in federal criminal charges, and creditors may have the option to sue the debtor in a civil court under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA) to recover the conveyed property, even if the debtor no longer owns it.

If accused of violating Penal Code 154 PC, an individual may raise legal defenses to challenge the charges. Hiring an experienced attorney can greatly improve the chances of a successful defense. Some of the common defenses include:

Lack of Intent

A crucial element of a fraudulent conveyance charge is the transferor’s intent to avoid or delay payment to their creditors. If the accused can prove that they did not have this intent and were instead acting in good faith to help a relative or for another non-nefarious reason, they may be able to successfully defend against the charges.


In some cases, the accused may argue that they were forced to commit the fraudulent conveyance due to extenuating circumstances such as an emergency or payment to another creditor. This defense, also referred to as “guilty with an explanation,” may help reduce the severity of the charges or even have them dismissed.

Unlawful Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. If the evidence against the accused was obtained through an unlawful search and seizure, it may be excluded from the case, potentially leading to a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Penalties for Fraudulent Conveyance

A violation of Penal Code 154 PC is classified as a misdemeanor and may result in a maximum jail sentence of one year and/or a fine of $1,000. However, if the fraudulent conveyance involved stock valued at over $250, the charge will be upgraded to a felony, punishable by imprisonment in California state prison for 16 months to three years.

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