In Florida, fraud crimes are serious offenses. Some fraud charges in Florida are misdemeanors, while others are more serious felony crimes. If you have been charged with any fraud-related charge in West Palm Beach, call an experienced criminal attorney. Most fraud charges are financial crimes, also known as white collar crimes. State law allows prosecutors to aggressively pursue white-collar cases.
Often, those convicted of these crimes may be required to pay restitution and other fines, in addition to potential jail time. This means that a conviction for fraud can be quite costly. To discuss your case in more, contact a West Palm Beach fraud lawyer.
Fraud Charges in Florida
All fraud crimes essentially arise from committing theft by deception. White collar crimes such as fraud are generally non-violent; however, they are still considered serious offenses in Florida. State law defines many different fraud charges, including:
- Auto dealership fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Obtaining property by fraud
- Mortgage fraud
Credit Card Fraud
Some of the most common fraud-related charges in West Palm Beach involve credit card fraud. For purposes of Florida’s credit card fraud laws, credit cards include traditional credit cards, debit cards, ATM cards, electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards, or similar financial instruments.
Like most other fraud offense in Florida, credit card fraud crimes take a variety of forms, including:
- Unauthorized use of a credit card
- Stealing a credit card
- Knowingly keeping a lost or mistakenly delivered credit card
- Using expired credit cards to take property
- Purchasing a stolen credit card
- Credit card forgery
- Unlawful possession of a stolen credit card
- Creating counterfeit credit cards
How are Penalties Determined?
The penalties for credit card fraud depend on the amount of money allegedly stolen. For example, when someone is accused of the unauthorized use of a credit card and the value involved is less than $100, they would face a first-degree misdemeanor; such a misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and fine of $1,000.
However, if the value involved in the alleged crime is $100 or more, the accused would face a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. It is important to consult with a West Palm Beach fraud lawyer who can help an individual protect their rights.
Federal Fraud Charges
Florida state law defines many fraud charges, and so does federal law. Some federal fraud charges include wire fraud, mail fraud, tax fraud, Medicare/Medicaid fraud, and securities fraud. Many federal fraud charges are often accompanied by minimum mandatory sentences.
This means those convicted of federal fraud crimes will face a minimum prison term for certain crimes. Federal law requires those convicted of fraud pay restitution, and in some cases, pay twice the amount of money involved in the theft.
If someone is convicted of wire fraud involving $50,000, they may be required to pay $100,000 in restitution in addition to other fines. Anyone facing a state or federal fraud charge should contact a West Palm Beach fraud attorney right away. These offenses often carry stiff penalties, even for misdemeanor charges.
Contacting Legal Representation
If you are facing fraud charges in West Palm Beach, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction for financial crimes involving fraud can lead to jail time, high fines, and a criminal record that may ruin future employment and financial opportunities. Given what is at stake, it is important to call a West Palm Beach fraud lawyer as soon as possible.