Would it make me liable of fraud for using gift certificates that might be obtained wrongfully? 11 Answers as of June 20, 2013

My friend gave me huge gift certificates to use to buy items from a certain store. I picked the items I want, entered in all the certificate numbers, and went to store to pick them up without any issues. At this point after I did the pickup, I asked how he got this much certificates, he wouldn't tell me. Now my question is, if they were obtained wrongfully, can it get me in trouble with the law?

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Robert Mortland
Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
Possibly. If you knew that the cards were stolen, you could possibly be charged with receipt of stolen property as a felony. There may be other charges but you could be facing criminal charges due to this incident.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/1/2012
Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
Yes.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/30/2013
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
If you knew or should have known before you did it, then you committed a theft. If you now know that it was unlawfully obtained then you have also committed a crime called "conversion."
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/25/2012
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
If the gift certificates are stolen and it can be proven that you knew that before you used them then you would be guilty of receiving stolen goods. If charged with this you should hire an attorney as soon as you can and before you say anything to anyone about this incident. If it cannot be proven that you knew or should have known they were stolen then you did nothing wrong and are in the clear.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/25/2012
Hammerschmidt Broughton Law
Hammerschmidt Broughton Law | Mark A. Broughton
Possibly. If you knew or should reasonably have known that these certificates were obtained unlawfully, and used them anyway, you could be held accountable. If you know now you might consider returning the items, but I would suggest you consult with an attorney first and run all the facts and circumstances by him/her before you take any action.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/25/2012
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    If the store has the police investigate then they would obviously contact you since you were the person who used them. At that point, all you could do is tell the police what happened. Then it would become a question of whether or not they believed you. If the police think there is evidence that you had knowledge that the certificates were stolen then you could possibly be charged. Short of your friend implicating you, however, it sounds as if it would be very difficult to make a case against you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Depends on what you mean by "trouble". If you knew he got the certificares wrongfully, yes. You might want to schedule a consultation with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2013
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Objectively speaking, if a reasonable person would know that the gift certificates were obtained unlawfully, you could be charged with a criminal violation. An example of this: buying a 60 inch HD flat screen TV for $50. A reasonable person would have knowledge that this item was obtained fraudulently.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    What you describe could be a violation of Penal Code 496. Section a reads: (a) Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170. The key is what you knew. Or more accurately, what would a jury believe you knew.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    As long as you are not obtaining goods through fraud you should be legally ok, however I would caution you that if it seems too good to be true it probably is too good. If if a gift of this size is unusual for the type of relationship that you have then you should avoid it altogether because it will look like you are in on the fraud.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
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