Our Ft Lauderdale fraud attorneys have decades of experience in representing individuals facing all types of criminal charges, including those related to the stopping of payment with the intent to defraud, a crime outlined in s. 832.041 of the Florida State Statutes. Anyone accused of this offense is encouraged to seek the counsel of a Ft Lauderdale stopping payments with intent to defraud lawyer as soon as possible to begin building a defense.
Establishing Intent to Defraud
According to the statute, it is against the law for someone to – with the intent to defraud any person – write (or make, utter, give, etc.) a check (i.e. a typical check, draft or written order) for the payment of money to any bank, person or corporation and secure from such person, bank or corporation goods or in exchange for the check and then stop payment on the check pursuant to and in furtherance of the intent to defraud.
Essentially, sending a check as payment for a service or goods you have received or expect to receive (i.e. yoga lessons, a television from an online electronics store, etc.) and then fraudulently stopping payment on that check (thus preventing the money from rightfully being removed from your account and deposited into the account of the proper recipient) is against the law. By stopping payment with the intent to defraud, you illegally prevent someone from being paid for the goods/services that they provided you with.
Now, stopping of payment with the intent to defraud can be categorized as either a third-degree felony or a second-degree misdemeanor, depending on the value of the goods or services involved. The crime is a felony of the third degree if the value of the goods or services secured for or on account of the check is $150 or more. In such a case, the defendant faces up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. If, on the other hand, the value of the goods or services secured for or on account of the check is less than $150, the crime is a second-degree misdemeanor, which could mean punishment of up to 60 days in jail or $500 in fines.
Building a Defense
As our Ft Lauderdale stopping payment with intent to defraud lawyers know, the prosecutors must prove intent to defraud in order to successfully prosecute a case stemming from charges of stopping payment with intent to defraud. In other words, you can’t be charged and convicted of a crime simply for stopping payment on a check; indeed, there are many legitimate reasons why one might want to or need to stop payment on a check. Unless the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud, they cannot charge and convict an individual of stopping payment with the intent to defraud as described in s. 832.041.