In Florida, fraud crimes are serious offenses. Some of these types of charges are misdemeanors, while others are more serious felony crimes. If you have been charged with any financial offense, call an experienced criminal attorney. Most fraud charges are financial crimes, also known as white-collar crimes. State law allows prosecutors to aggressively pursue these 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 detail, 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. State law defines many different fraud charges, including:
- Auto dealership fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Obtaining property by fraud
- Mortgage fraud
It is important to consult with a West Palm Beach lawyer who could help an individual protect their rights in fraud cases.
Credit Card Fraud
Some of the most common fraud-related charges involve credit card fraud. For purposes of state 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 offenses, 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.
Federal Fraud Charges
State law defines many fraud charges, and so does federal law. Some federal fraud charges include wire and mail fraud, tax fraud, Medicare/Medicaid fraud, and securities fraud. Many federal charges are often accompanied by minimum mandatory sentences.
This means those convicted of federal fraud crimes may face a minimum prison term for certain crimes. Federal law requires those convicted of this crime to 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 attorney right away. These offenses often carry stiff penalties, even for misdemeanor charges.
What are Some Defenses to Fraud Charges?
There are various defense strategies that a lawyer in West Palm Beach could use in a fraud case. The most effective strategy depends on the facts of the case and why type of fraud the Defendant is accused of. One of the most common defense strategies that our team may use these cases is a lack of intent to defraud. To be convicted of this crime, the Prosecution has to prove that the Defendant intended to use deceit to fraudulently take someone’s money or use their line of credit. If a Prosecutor cannot present evidence that demonstrates intent, the Defendant cannot be convicted. Additionally, in many scenarios a Defendant could plead guilty to lesser offenses, such as theft, to avoid the harsher penalties of fraud charges. This is especially true in situations involving multiple charges of vary levels.
Contact a West Palm Beach Fraud Attorney
If you are facing financial theft charges, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction for a financial offense could lead to jail time, high fines, and a criminal record that may ruin future employment and personal opportunities. Given what is at stake, it is important to call a West Palm Beach fraud lawyer as soon as possible.