The Growing Number of Arizona Telemarketing Fraud Cases

June 3, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court

According to the United States Department of Justice “Telemarketing Fraud” is: 

any scheme to defraud in which the persons carrying out the scheme use[s] the telephone as their primary means of communicating with prospective victims and trying to persuade them to send money to the scheme. 

Arizona has a unique history with the telemarketing industry. Many of the “pioneers” of mass telemarketing started in Arizona and it was a tremendously lucrative business.  However, once many of the people involved in the origination of this industry learned the business they spun off to start their own enterprizes.  Some started legitimate businesses and some started illegal schemes.  These fraud schemes included:

Home Based Businesses

Charity Schemes

Credit-Repair Schemes

Loan Schemes

Credit Card Schemes

Internet-Related Schemes

“Business-Opportunity” Schemes

Lottery Fraud

Office-Supply Schemes

Prize-Promotion Schemes

“Recovery-Room” Schemes

“Rip-and-Tear” Schemes

The problem is now law enforcement presumes that almost all telemarking businesses are fraud schemes.  I have seen every innocent fact turned into evidence of fraud.  The Arizona Attorney Generals Office handles many of these cases. In my experience many of the cases start as civil complaints.  Moreover, the government may release information that the business is a scam well before a conviction is obtained.  The result being that even if the business is legitimate the consumers now believe they have been defrauded.  If the civil case does not resolve, then the suit may result in a criminal prosecution.  Typically the individuals will be charged with Fraud Schemes and Theft.  

These case are complex and and the evidence may include thousands of documents.  In order to defend these cases, an attorney must actually understand the business model and inherent dangers of the this type of business.  That is, many of these cases involve a person trying to develop a legitimate business, but employees making the sales calls go beyond what the business owner represents.  The government may attempt to hold the business owner/manager liable for something that they had no knowledge.

If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you must consult with an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney. For more information about Arizona Criminal Law or a specific legal problem, please contact Koplow & Patane Online or by phone at (602) 494-3444.

How to Read An Arizona Sentencing Chart – Part 1.

December 20, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court, Uncategorized

The Arizona Supreme Court publishes a chart that summarizes the penalties for Arizona felony convictions.  While the chart is not all inclusive, it does show the sentencing ranges for most Arizona criminal convictions.  Below I have revised the chart and attempted to make it a little more “readable.”

To determine the sentencing range for a criminal conviction you need to know the class of the felony the person has been charged with.  In the first column, on the left side of the chart (in blue), the felony classes are listed.  The chart lists felony classes two (2) through six (6). Class Two (2) felonies carry the longest length of incarceration and Class Six (6) felonies carry the shortest length of incarceration. 

For example, someone charged with a first offense Forgery, is facing the sentencing range displayed to the right of a class 4 felony (3.75 years to 1 year).  The presumptive term is prison is 2.5 years.  That is, the term the judge is presumed to give that person is 2.5 years. However, as with most first time offenses the judge does not have to send the person to prison.  The Judge can merely sentence someone to probation.

The 2008 Arizona Sentencing Chart by Koplow & Patatne

The 2008 Arizona Sentencing Chart by Koplow & Patane (Click to Enlarge)

There are many nuances to reading the Arizona Sentencing Chart.  Next week I will provide a follow up post to explain the rest of the chart.

What is the Crime of Burglary in Arizona?

October 31, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court

Burglary is defined as entering onto the property of another with the intent to commit any theft or any felony thereon.  In Arizona, there are three separate degrees of burglary.

As defined in A.R.S. 13-1506, a person commits a third degree burglary by “entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a nonresidential structure or in a fenced commercial or residential yard with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein.”  Third degree is a class 4 felony in Arizona.

Second degree burglary, defined in A.R.S. 13-1507, is committed “by entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein.”  This is a class 3 felony in Arizona.  It is important to note that the only difference is that a second degree burglary is committed on a residential structure, such as a person’s home.

Lastly, a first degree burglary is committed when a person commits either a second or third degree burglary and knowingly possesses explosives, a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument in the course of committing any theft or any felony as described in A.R.S. 13-1508.  If the burglary was committed in the third degree pursuant to A.R.S.  13-1506, then the charge is upgraded to a class 3 felony in Arizona.  If the burglary committed was second degree pursuant to A.R.S. 13-1507, the charge is upgraded to a class 2 felony.

It is also important to note that possession of burglary tools and criminal trespass may be charged in relation with these crimes.

What are the Different Types of Robbery Crimes in Arizona

October 1, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court

A person commits robbery in Arizona if in the course of taking any property of another from his person or immediate presence and against his will, such person threatens or uses force against any person with intent either to coerce surrender of property or to prevent resistance to such person taking or retaining property. The definition of robbery can be found in A.R.S. 13-1902, and the crime of robbery is a class 4 felony in Arizona.

However, robbery can carry more severe punishments as well. For example, robbery is charged as aggravated robbery, a class 3 felony, if one or more accomplices are present in the course of the robbery. See A.R.S. 13-1903. Lastly, a robbery can be charged as armed robbery. A person is guilty of armed robbery if, in the course of the robbery as defined in 13-1902, the person or an accomplice

1. Is armed with a deadly weapon or a simulated deadly weapon; or

2. Uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or a simulated deadly weapon.

Armed robbery is upgraded to a class 2 felony charge as described in 13-1904.

What Exactly is a “Ponzi Scheme”?

June 18, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court

Since the news that Bernnie Madoff was arrested for Securties Fraud, the term “Ponzi Scheme” has been used in every newspaper, television news show and blog.  Below is a thorough explanation of a “Ponzi Scheme.”

What is the Amount of Prison an Arizona Criminal Conviction Requires?

June 17, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court

Arizona Criminal Sentencing Chart

Arizona Criminal Sentencing Chart

Arizona criminal convictions can result in many different penalties.  Some convictions require mandatory prison.  Some convictions may result in merely a term of probation.  While other convictions can result in both a term of probation and a term of jail.  Above is a partial copy of the Arizona Supreme Court’s Sentencing chart that shows the general sentencing ranges for a criminal conviction in Arizona.

In order to utilize the chart, you must understand a few basic principals.  First, you must know what class of felony you are charged with.  You can see on the left side of the chart there is heading titled “CLASS.”  Arizona felonies are given a class by our legislature. On the chart, you can see that a Class 6 felony carries the shortest terms of prison.  While a Class 2 felony requires the longest.

The next column on the chart is the sentencing ranges for first offenses criminal convictions in Arizona.  This section is shaded in blue.  The shading is to indicate that most first offenses in Arizona may result in probation.  That is, for most first time criminal convictions, the judge has the option to sentence you to probation.  The judge may also combine a term of jail with probation.  The maximum term of jail is one year for each count.


Let take the example of a first time forgery conviction.  In Arizona the crime of Forgery is a class 4 felony.  So you look on the chart at the number 4 under the CLASS column, and the sentencing rage will be to the right of it.  The sentencing range for a class 4 felony is a super-minimum of 1 year and a super-maximum of 3.75 years.  The presumptive term is 2.5 years.  That is, the judge is presumed to sentence you to 2.5 years (if she has chosen prison as the penalty.)  To sentence you to a term greater than 2.5 years, she must make a finding that aggravating factors exist.  To sentence you to a term less than 2.5 years, she must make a finding that mitigating factors exist.

However, because this is a first time offense, the judge has the option to forgo a prison term and sentence you to probation.  A probation sentence can include incarceration.  The judge can sentence you to up to 1 year in the county jail (as opposed to the Arizona State Prison System) as a term of probation.  If jail is imposed, the judge has the discretion to allow you to participate in the work furlough program.  This program permits a person serving a jail term to be released on a limited basis to continue working.


There are many first time offense that do require a mandatory prison sentence and fall outside the shaded area on the sentencing chart.  Dangerous offenses (as defined by the Arizona Legislature) and certain sex offenses require mandatory prison terms.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is NOT legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between you and Koplow & Patane.  Legal advice usually varies from case to case.

If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you must consult with an attorney.  For more information about Arizona Criminal Law, please contact Koplow & Patane

Why Murder Never Goes Unpunished

June 13, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court

I have done a number of speeches on DUI prevention.  During my speeches I always try to show what happens when a drunk driver kills another person.  It is easy to communicate what happens to the family of the deceased.  However, showing what happens to the person who kills another, beyond the legal consequences, is a more difficult task.  Renowned trial lawyer Gerry Spence’s blog entry “on Murder” eloquently touches upon this point.  Mr. Spence writes:

“You can never beat the big one,” old Tom Fagen used to say.   He was a grizzled, tough talking criminal defense attorney who was as sweet and easy inside as an Easter bunny.  He was talking about murder — the charge.  If you are guilty and tried, and if the jury acquits, it makes no difference.  You can never beat “the big one.”  An evil entity intervenes.  The Prince of Demons shall we call him.  He attacks with guilt.  I have known those who beat “the big one” in court to at last be beaten by their own hand.  Suicide it is called.  I think it [is] better called the revenge of “the big one.”

I have seen those who have beaten “the big one” end up being murdered by others.  I have seen them die the slow self imposed death of piteous alcoholics or drug addicts.  I have seen them die desolate, alone, often diseased when the body has given up because the mind could no longer deal with “the big one.” 

I know that the psychopaths and sociopaths, those without a conscience, may still trot around, perhaps dying of old age, laughing that they beat “the big one,” perhaps even more than once.  But those poor devils were beaten to begin with, their lives a waste and empty as a can.  They never were in the race – not even the human race.

But what about the innocents who are charged with murder and acquitted?  Once charged, the innocent can never fully recover — the terror of the trial, the helplessness of standing for judgment in such a place of horror as a courtroom where nothing grows, where no one believes you, where if you rise up and scream your innocence you are hauled away where you can scream only at gray walls, and if you sit passively by the judgers, the jury, the citizens, the court gawkers – they all know you are guilty or you would be screaming your innocence. 

And you cannot escape the transforming power of fear.  At night you awaken and the first thought that creeps into your mind like a poison worm is that you will be found guilty, that they will haul you off in an orange suit to some dark hole where you will rot the rest of your life, where you will never again see your loved ones, never be touched by a loving human hand, never again see the peaceful leaves of fall or the joyous spouts of spring.  No greater punishment exists than one imposed on the innocent.

Or, yes, they may order the gurney and the dripping needle for you, the last meal, the media crowded around to watch you die, and the hateful death-penalty ghouls rejoicing in the hallways that one more of their species has been wiped from the face of the earth.

In this world in which all innocence has become the cynic’s delight, there is no innocence.  On that rare occasion when the innocent may be acquitted there has been too much pain for too long.  The torture of months, perhaps years of terror awaiting trial and then the horror of the trial itself – it is then that The Prince of Demons comes to occupy even the body of the innocent accused.  The tortured body and mind have become emptied of life, empty as death.  It’s as if you have been murdered by the malicious heat of the murder trial itself.   As old Tom said, you can never escape “the big one.”  No, never.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is NOT legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between you and Koplow & Patane.  Legal advice usually varies from case to case.

If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you must consult with an attorney.  For more information about Arizona Criminal Law, please contact Lawrence Koplow online or by phone at (602) 494-3444.  Moreover, if you would like more information on vehicular crimes, please see our DUI and Vehicular Crimes Blog.

What is the Crime of Fraudulent Schemes in Arizona?

June 13, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court

The crime of Fraudulent Schemes is codified in A.R.S. Section 13-2310.  This crime requires proof that a person:

  • Pursuant to a scheme or artifice to defraud;
  • Knowingly obtains;
  • Any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises or material omissions

A person convicted of Fraudulent Schemes is guilty of a class 2 felony.  Furthermore, reliance on the part of any person is not a necessary element of the offense.

What is the Arizona Crime of Endangerment?

June 2, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court, DUI

What is endangerment?

The crime of endangerment is charged in situations where a person places another in danger by acting recklessly. The statute, in relevant part, states:

A. A person commits endangerment by recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.

B. Endangerment involving a substantial risk of imminent death is a class 6 felony. In all other cases, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.

When would a person be charged with endangerment?

For example, if Person A, who is extremely intoxicated, causes a car accident by hitting Person B’s car, then Person A might be charged with “endangering” Person B, even if Person B is not injured. If Person B is injured, there may be more serious charges filed against Person A, such as aggravated assault. It is important to remember that with an endangerment charge, no one needs to be actually injured as a result. Rather, the victim only needs to be placed in a position of substantial risk of injury, so the standard to a charge of endangerment is fairly low.

What are the possible consequences if convicted of endangerment?

Part B of the statute outlines the penalties attached to an endangerment charge. The crime of endangerment is only a felony if the victim is placed “in substantial risk of imminent death,” leaving room for argument to reduce the crime to a class 1 misdemeanor. The sentencing ranges are outlined on the latest version of the Arizona sentencing guidelines for the criminal code, which can be found at The sentence can be increased or reduced from the presumptive sentencing guidelines based on factors such as the offender’s past criminal history, the facts surrounding the incident, the age of the offender, the offender’s ability to appreciate his wrongfulness, etc.

When Gerry Spence Speaks – I Listen!

May 19, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court

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It is undisputed that Gerry Spence is one of, if not the, best trial attorneys on planet earth.  I don’t care what he is talking about, I am listening.

Mr. Spence represented a man named Brandon Mayfield. Mayfield, an American Lawyer, was accused of being connected with the deadly train bombing in Madrid, Spain. As it turns out, he was wrongly accused. As a matter of record, the government ended up paying Mr. Mayfield $2 million dollars in a civil settlement and also gave him a formal apology. Here are Mr. Spence’s thoughts on the case.

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