Fraud is misrepresenting either yourself or relevant information for your personal financial gain. Fraud can be a civil offense, but Florida Prosecutors consider many frauds to be criminal matters. If Prosecutors allege you have committed criminal fraud, you face fines, restitution, and prison. Sometimes, Prosecutors engage in public shaming of fraud defendants, so you may face loss of reputation as well—even if you are never convicted.
Fraud cases are rarely cut and dried. Instead, they might involve legal but complicated transactions that Prosecutors may misunderstand. A skilled Attorney at Leifert & Leifert could challenge a Prosecutor’s assumptions and prevent them from over-reaching when they charge you with fraud. Contact a Loxahatchee fraud Lawyer today to begin discussing your case.
Criminal Fraud in the Sunshine State
The various types of criminal fraud are described in Florida Statute Title XLVI, §§ 817.011-817.685 . The common thread in fraud cases is the allegation that someone intentionally misled another, or lied on an official document, to achieve some benefit for themselves. The benefit is usually financial, but other benefits, such as influence over a public official or an improved chance to win a contract, could also form the basis of fraud charges.
Examples of actions that might be charged as fraud include alleged identity theft, where someone’s personal information, such as bank accounts, credit card numbers, or Social Security number, are used by an unauthorized person to secure a benefit. Prosecutors alleging forgery or signing a document in the name of someone else to gain access to their property, might charge fraud.
Prosecutors tend to be especially hard on people charged with fraudulently accessing public funds, and criminal defense Attorneys could help protect individuals from overzealous Prosecution in these cases. Claiming public assistance to which one allegedly is not entitled—whether the assistance is welfare, food stamps, disability payments, worker’s compensation benefits, or disaster assistance– could be charged as fraud. Medical personnel who bill Medicare or Medicaid for services that are allegedly unnecessary or are not appropriate to the person’s medical condition frequently face fraud charges.
Five Elements to Prove Fraud
To get a conviction in a criminal case, the Prosecutors must establish a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Most crimes have multiple elements that a Prosecutor must prove to meet the standard of guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Prosecutors must prove five elements to establish that someone is guilty of fraud.
- The defendant made a false statement that they knew was false at the time
- The statement related to their attempt to secure money or some other benefit
- The false statement harmed an individual, company, government agency, or organization
- The defrauded person, company, agency, or organization was justified in relying on the truthfulness of the defendant
- The defendant intended to gain access to money or other benefits as a result of the lie
A successful Prosecution for fraud requires a Prosecutor to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly lied and intended the false statement to help them secure some benefit. Proving knowledge and intent is difficult, and a skilled criminal defense Attorney can present facts and evidence to counter any assertions a local Prosecutor might make about a defendant’s state of mind.
Skilled Legal Representation is Essential
If you are facing fraud charges, do not leave your future to chance. A knowledgeable defense Attorney at Leifert & Leifert can take the time to learn your case inside and out might make a big difference in the end result.
Do not cheat yourself out of excellent legal representation. Contact a Loxahatchee fraud Lawyer who could bring winning arguments to bear on your behalf.