Thank you for your clarification, T.
The answer is yes
, this can be considered a FELONY. Under Penal Code 487 PC et seq
of property valued at more than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) may be filed as a Felony.
However, it is up to the police to investigate and the prosecutor to decide to file charges. They may be somewhat hesitant, as it is harder to prove a theft that the Defendant claims is theirs.
The victim has the right to file a CIVIL suit as well against the Defendant, regardless of whether or not the prosecutor moves forward with criminal
To sue in a state court
, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one
cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.
This may be a cause of action for conversion
. The elements of a conversion claim are: (1) the plaintiffs ownership or right to possession of the property; (2) the defendant's conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and (3) damages. Questions of the defendant's good faith, lack of knowledge, and motive are ordinarily immaterial. All that matters is that they possess it, and, it belongs to you. (Moore v. Regents of University of California (1990) 51 Cal.3d 120, 144, and fn. 38, 271 Cal.Rptr. 146, 793 P.2d 479; Oakdale Village Group v. Fong (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 539, 543-544, 50 Cal. Rptr.2d 810.)
Punitive damages may also be requested along with the items back and legal/attorney fees. Cal. Civ. Code § 3294 et seq
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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