White collar crime is rampant in Florida. In fact, Florida leads the nation in consumer fraud and identity theft. In response to the prevalence of fraud and other forms of non-violent financial crimes, the Florida legislature passed the White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act, which enhances the sanctions imposed for aggravated white collar crimes.
A person convicted of fraud in Florida may not only have to face the criminal punishment for committing a specific offense but civil penalties in the form of restitution and court costs. If you are facing fraud charges in Florida, retaining the services of a capable fraud attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
A Plantation fraud lawyer can understand how overwhelming criminal charges can be and will fight to secure the best result possible in your case.
Fraud Charges in Florida
Florida law does not define fraud as one singular crime or concept but as a wide range of fraudulent activities and practices. In Florida, criminal fraudulent activities generally fall into one of the following categories:
- Fraudulent Practices
- Forgery and Counterfeiting
- Violations involving Checks and Drafts
Fraud offenses are outlined throughout various sections of Title XLVI of the Florida Statutes and they all have their own distinct elements. However, one unifying theme is the intent to defraud. Intent to defraud usually involves acts of deliberate deception or false representation for the purpose of obtaining the money, goods, or services of another.
Chapter 817 of the Florida Statutes establishes the types of activities that constitute illegal fraudulent practices. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Organized fraud
- Communications fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Obtaining property by false personation
- Fraudulent use of personal identification information (i.e. identity theft)
- Credit card fraud
Forgery and Counterfeiting
Forgery and counterfeiting offenses are defined in Chapter 831 of the Florida Statutes. The most commonly charged crimes are forgery and uttering forged instruments. Forgery and uttering forged instruments are third-degree felonies.
A person commits forgery when they falsely made, altered, forged, or counterfeited a document described in Section 831.01 with intent to injure or defraud another. Uttering a forged instrument means that the person passed or offered to pass as true forged document, which they knew to be forged or false, with intent to injure or defraud another. A Plantation fraud lawyer can defend individuals against these charges.
Violations Involving Checks and Drafts
Under Chapter 832 of the Florida Statutes, there are two main offenses– issuance of worthless checks and by obtaining property using worthless checks. In both contexts, the prosecution must prove that the person knew when they wrote the check that there were insufficient funds on deposit with the bank.
The penalties for these offenses depends on whether the check is for more or less than $150. If the check was for less than $150 it is a misdemeanor charge and it is a felony charge if it is for $150 or more.
Consulting an Attorney
It is important to work with a local attorney who can provide you with the compassion and vigorous defense you deserve during such a challenging time in your life. A capable attorney will be able to Contact a Plantation fraud lawyer so you can discuss your options and learn how a fraud lawyer can help.