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We are an elite criminal defense law firm, that emphasizes providing the best service and professionalism to all clients. We service a curated clientele nationwide – that expect the best from their lawyer. We handle tough criminal defense and legal situations that require deep knowledge, experience, dedication, and excellence in order to win. We have over 50 years of combined experience, handling national and international cases.

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The Spodek Law Group is one of the most successful law firms in the USA. Our success comes from the fact we are attentive to details, and take a very pragmatic approach to each and every single case. Our clients turn to us for realistic advice – so they can make the appropriate decisions they need to make personally. Our goal is to make sure your case ends in a positive outcome, not only personally – but for your family as well.

 



California Criminal Convictions and Accountant Discipline

California  Criminal Convictions and Accountant Discipline

Accountants in the state of California risk professional discipline by the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) in the wake of a conviction for a crime that is “substantially related” to the work of accountancy. Depending on how serious your case is, the punishment could range from a simple reprimand to license revocation.

 

In this article, you will learn about criminal convictions and accountant discipline in California.  If, after reading, you have further questions, please feel free to contact us for a consultation.

 

We will cover:

  1. What government agency regulates California accountants?
  2. The 7-year rule: Can I become an accountant in California with a criminal conviction?
  3. What types of criminal convictions bring can result in discipline?
  4. Will I be able to fight for my license?

 

  1. What government agency regulates California accountants?

Under the auspices of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the California Board of Accountancy regulates accountants in California. The law this Board enforces is California Accountancy Act.  They also implement regulations in keeping with its mission to protect members of the public.

 

  1. The 7-year rule: Can I become an accountant in California with a criminal conviction?

Whether you can apply this rule to your circumstances depends on when the incident occurred, and what crime you were charged with. If your criminal conviction is from more than seven (7) years ago, grounds for denial of an accountancy license generally do not exist as long as you completed all the sentencing terms.

On the other hand, the Accountancy Board can still disqualify applicants for convictions no matter how old the conviction is if it lands in certain categories.  This includes heinous crimes punishable by incarceration in state prison or death, such as sex and drug offenses, felony financial crimes, murder, rape, arson, weapons charges and more.

 

Apart from those, an applicant with a conviction within the past seven years could still be eligible for a license if the offense is not “substantially related” to the qualifications, functions, or duties of being an accountant.

In cases where the Board denies an applicant a license on the basis of criminal history, it will inform the applicant of his/her right to appeal the denial.

 

  1. What types of criminal convictions bring can result in discipline?

Any conviction that can be deemed “substantially related” to the qualifications, functions, or duties of an accountant can bring on Board of Accountancy discipline.  This can include license revocation or suspension, or censure.  In other words, these convictions constitute “unprofessional conduct.”

This “substantially related” requirement is based in statutes as well as in the Constitution.  You have a right to practice your chosen profession that cannot be impeded unless there is a reason that relates to your fitness to practice that profession.

The Board’s Disciplinary Guidelines recommend license revocation as a maximum consequence for being convicted of a felony or “several misdemeanor” offenses.  The minimum penalty for such convictions as per the Guidelines is a period of actual suspension with the potential for probation conditions including restitution, ethics course, community service and/or administrative penalty.

 

The “Substantially Related” Requirement

A conviction that is considered “substantially related” is one that “evidences present or potential unfitness of a certified public accountant or public accountant to perform the functions authorized by his or her certificate or permit in a manner consistent with the public health, safety, or welfare.”  By regulation, the Board specifies that any crime involving dishonesty, fraud or breach of fiduciary responsibility, or any violation of the California Accountancy Act, are included in this definition.

Board newsletters and other enforcement documents have highlighted the following kinds of convictions as infractions that net disciplinary action against California accountants:

  • tax evasion
  • bank fraud
  • carjacking
  • forgery
  • mail fraud
  • grand theft

 

This is not a definitive or exhaustive list.  Rather, we just wanted to provide some examples for your information.

Ultimately, we strongly recommend you consult an attorney if you need to assess whether your particular conviction could potentially raise a red flag in the eyes of the Board of Accountancy or a court to be substantially related to accounting.

 

What is a Conviction According to Board of Accountancy Criteria?

For the purposes of the Board of Accountancy, a conviction is any felony and misdemeanor conviction secured by a guilty plea or verdict, a no contest plea, or a conviction that could later be expunged under California Penal Code Section 1203.4.

The Board can act in response to a conviction when the time for appeal has passed, the judgment of conviction was affirmed on appeal, or an order granting probation is handed down, suspending imposition of sentence.  Nevertheless, the reporting obligations outlined below define convictions more broadly to include initial pleas and sentence pronouncements.

 

What are Reportable Events?

Just as for doctors and lawyers, accountants in California are subject to ongoing reporting obligations in connection with any criminal activity.  According to Bus. & Prof. Code 5063, accountants are obligated notify the Board of Accountancy within 30 days of certain criminal convictions.

The courts in which such convictions have taken place also have reporting obligations.

 

  1. Will I be able to fight for my license?

Indeed, you have options in fighting for your license if you receive an accusation from the Board of Accountancy.  You could negotiate a favorable settlement with the Board.  Additionally, you have the right to a hearing in before an administrative law judge.  In your hearing, you can exercise your right to discovery of relevant evidence to prepare for and you will be able to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses during the proceeding.  Another option is to present key evidence demonstrating that you have been rehabilitated from your crime.

If all else fails and you still lose your permit or certificate, down the line you will be able to petition the Board for reinstatement.

 

Our California Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Assist You.

Are you or a loved one an accountant who has been charged with a crime and you want to hire the best possible attorney for representation?  If so, then we invite you to contact us at Spodek Law Group. We will be glad to provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, the San Fernando Valley, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, Riverside,  San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, San Diego, Pasadena, Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose and throughout California.

 

 


Charle Butler
Charle Butler
2021-03-12
I was hesitant to hire the Spodek Law Group. I read reviews and knew they have a great reputation. However, I thought I would spend money and not see or speak to my attorney. From the beginning to end of my case Todd and the entire staff were available and willing to help. We worked towards and end result that was way above my expectation and Todd delivered. I am forever grateful for patience and long days and night spent working on my case. Thanks Todd and the entire team!
Mesonista parsons
Mesonista parsons
2021-03-05
My attorney at Spodek was Abigail. She was very knowledgeable and helpful with all my questions and concerns, as well as responsive. Her fees are affordable and Abigail took the time to make sure I understood everything relating to my case. I highly recommend Abigail and will request her services in the future.
debabrata chakraborty
debabrata chakraborty
2021-03-03
Todd A Spodek is the experienced and best criminal lawyer at USA. He is very professional and always respond on time. Alex also very cooperative and always help me. They took care me and my problem like family member. I am 100% satisfied for their professional service. My result was unexpected and amazing. They dismissed my case. I am really grateful to them. I will recommend you to go there if you want to solve your problem. I wish all the best for them.
Asata Hendricks
Asata Hendricks
2021-03-02
Truly appreciate the work the guys did!. Exceptional team & I know they care about each and everyone of their clients. I am super thankful to be referred to Spodek Law Group and I am grateful Todd & Alex were able to work diligently to achieve an outcome I am pleased with. Despite COVID they stayed on top of things and kept me informed every step of the way. Very thankful.
Mike Moroff
Mike Moroff
2021-02-26
I'm very satisfied with the services rendered by Todd, Alex and Mary Lou. I whole heartedly recommend Spodek Law Group . I've worked with and have retained other attorneys in the past with Todd's firm being the cream of the crop for many reasons. A very serious legal matter was resolved after a year's hard work and effort. Todd expertly guided me through the process and was able to navigate and make the good journey bearable as well as successful. Mary Lou initially provided excellent assistance before referring my case to Todd. Alex's support was effective and timely. The customer portal (MyCase) is an invaluable communication tool that also kept track of my case. Various aspects of my case were explained and there were several options provided but I made the final decision of how the case would be handled. The legal fee was reasonable considering the effort and amount of work plus it was a flat fee regardless of the length of time required to conclude my case. Todd made himself available to me and we had many scheduled meetings to go over the progress and to discuss the next steps. I felt more confident after many discussions with him. You will not go wrong choosing Spodek Law Group for legal matters.
Josh Katz
Josh Katz
2021-02-24
Being that it was the first time that I was in need of an attorney, I was afraid and hesitant and knew I needed the absolute best. It is beyond understood why Spodek Law Group has a reputation of being the top, if not the best law firm in New York. Alex and Abigail were there every step of the way even at the most unconvenient hours. I could not have asked for more. They are extremely good at what they do and they delivered much much more than just winning my case. A big thank you to Alex and Abigail for all the guidance and counseling and their upmost loyal support that extended far more than just legally. If you need the absolute best than don't hesitate to hire Spodek Law Firm.
L.C.
L.C.
2021-02-24
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to Todd and Alex for their hard work and dedication to my case. I had never been in any trouble before but I had an unfortunate event occur and in the midst of COVID-19 at that therefore I knew I needed a team that was dedicated to my success. Today- my case has been finalized and I’m walking away with no record and can continue life as a mother and a Grad student worry free. I cannot express enough gratitude for their assistance.
AnnMarie Soliman
AnnMarie Soliman
2021-02-23
I received a summons and called Spodek law group for a free consultation. Alex took my call and was very quick and responsive. He was available anytime through multiple platforms and very reassuring when needed. They are extremely organized and thorough. They got my case dismissed! I’m very grateful. Thank you Alex and Todd!

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Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.

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Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.

~ Rowlin Garcia

Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.

~ Francis Anim

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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

David Bruce

"Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet."

Rowlin Garcia

"Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind."

Francis Anim
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