"If it weren't landlords doing it, the culprits would be spending years in prison for felony grand theft embezzlement." - http://www.caltenantlaw.com/Deposit.htm
Bernard Hoffman owns many apartment buildings around Los Angeles. He is notorious for taking unfounded deductions from his tenants' security deposits. In many cases, Mr. Hoffman has falsified the date of receipt of his tenants' notice to vacate letters to justify charging extra days of rent. Mr. Hoffman has also deducted for bogus repairs that could not be verified despite the repeated requests of various tenants. He specifically rents to college-aged students and recent graduates, banking on the fact many do not know their legal rights or have the resources to take him to court. Due to this fact, many tenants have unfortunately cut their losses. In many tenants' opinions, Bernard Hoffman is nothing more than a white collar criminal. He will continue to make unlawful deductions until each tenant stands up for what is right.
Bernard Hoffman is a criminal. Be prepared by knowing your rights: http://housing.ucsc.edu/housing/CCC_SecurityDeposits.pdf http://www.dca.ca.gov/legal/landlordbook/ http://www.cesinaction.org/Resources_Materials/Getting_Your_Sec_Deposit_Back.pdf http://www.caltenantlaw.com/Deposit.htm
As a last resort, searching for business info and filing suit: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/ http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/smallclaims/