Avoidance of lawful charges for telephone and telegraph service
(a) Any person who, knowingly, willfully, and with intent to defraud a person providing telephone or telegraph service, avoids or attempts to avoid, or, aids, abets or causes another to avoid the lawful charge, in whole or in part, for telephone or telegraph service by any of the following means is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony, as provided in subdivision (f).
(1) By charging the service to an existing telephone number or credit card number without the authority of the subscriber thereto or the lawful holder thereof.
(2) By charging the service to a nonexistent telephone number or credit card number, or to a number associated with telephone service which is suspended or terminated, or to a revoked or canceled (as distinguished from expired) credit card number, notice of the suspension, termination, revocation, or cancellation of the telephone service or credit card having been given to the subscriber thereto or the holder thereof.
(3) By use of a code, prearranged scheme, or other similar stratagem or device whereby the person, in effect, sends or receives information.
(4) By rearranging, tampering with, or making connection with telephone or telegraph facilities or equipment, whether physically, electrically, acoustically, inductively, or otherwise, or by using telephone or telegraph service with knowledge or reason to believe that the rearrangement, tampering, or connection existed at the time of the use.
(5) By using any other deception, false pretense, trick, scheme, device, or means.
(b) Any person who (1) makes, possesses, sells, gives, or otherwise transfers to another, or offers or advertises any instrument, apparatus, or device with intent to use it or with knowledge or reason to believe it is intended to be used to avoid any lawful telephone or telegraph toll charge or to conceal the existence or place of origin or destination of any telephone or telegraph message; or (2) sells, gives, or otherwise transfers to another or offers, or advertises plans or instructions for making or assembling an instrument, apparatus, or device described in paragraph (1) of this subdivision with knowledge or reason to believe that they may be used to make or assemble the instrument, apparatus, or device is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony, as provided in subdivision (f).
(c) Any person who publishes the number or code of an existing, canceled, revoked, expired, or nonexistent credit card, or the numbering or coding which is employed in the issuance of credit cards, with the intent that it be used or with knowledge or reason to believe that it will be used to avoid the payment of any lawful telephone or telegraph toll charge is guilty of a misdemeanor. The provisions of subdivision (f) shall not apply to this subdivision. As used in this section, "publishes" means the communication of information to any one or more persons, either orally, in person or by telephone, radio, or television, or in a writing of any kind, including without limitation a letter or memorandum, circular or handbill, newspaper, or magazine article, or book.
(d) Subdivision (a) applies when the telephone or telegraph communication involved either originates or terminates, or both originates and terminates, in this state, or when the charges for service would have been billable, in normal course, by a person providing telephone or telegraph service in this state, but for the fact that the charge for service was avoided, or attempted to be avoided, by one or more of the means set forth in subdivision (a).
(e) Jurisdiction of an offense under this section is in the jurisdictional territory where the telephone call or telegram involved in the offense originates or where it terminates, or the jurisdictional territory to which the bill for the service is sent or would have been sent but for the fact that the service was obtained or attempted to be obtained by one or more of the means set forth in subdivision (a).
(f) If the total value of all telephone or telegraph services obtained in violation of this section aggregates over four hundred dollars ($400) within any period of twelve (12) consecutive months during the three years immediately prior to the time the indictment is found or the case is certified to the superior court, or prior to the time the information is filed, or if the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense in excess of four hundred dollars ($400) under this section or of an offense in excess of four hundred dollars ($400) under the laws of another state or of the United States which would have been an offense under this section if committed in this state, a person guilty of such offense is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both, or by imprisonment in the state prison, by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.
(g) Any instrument, apparatus, device, plans, instructions, or written publication described in subdivision (b) or (c) may be seized under warrant or incident to a lawful arrest, and, upon the conviction of a person for a violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c), the instrument, apparatus, device, plans, instructions, or written publication may be destroyed as contraband by the sheriff of the county in which the person was convicted or turned over to the person providing telephone or telegraph service in the territory in which it was seized.
(h) Any computer, computer system, computer network, or any software or data, owned by the defendant, which is used during the commission of any public offense described in this section or any computer, owned by the defendant, which is used as a repository for the storage of software or data illegally obtained in violation of this section shall be subject to forfeiture.
(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1110, Sec. 6.)