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Florida Man Charged with Securities Fraud and Theft

A Neptune Beach, Florida man has been charged with securities fraud, forgery, and theft following an investigation by Iowa City, Iowa law enforcement. The man allegedly worked as an investment advisor for a husband and wife when he, posing as the couple, requested a $30,000 disbursement from the couple’s investment account. The man then told the couple the check had been issued in error and to return the check to him. The couple did so and the man is alleged to have subsequently forged the victim’s name and deposited the check in his own personal account.

A Jurisdictional Question

At first blush, it may appear odd that a Florida resident is being charged with a crime in Iowa when there is no indication that the man had ever set foot in Iowa. It is one thing, for example, to be charged with a traffic offense while driving through another state: in that case, you would have been present within the limits of the other state at the time you committed the traffic violation. It may come as a surprise to some that one state can file criminal charges against a resident of another state even where the resident has never set foot in any other state.

The law does permit one state to charge a resident of another state with a criminal act if the resident’s actions “cause a criminal offense to be committed” in the foreign state. The classic example illustrating this involves a person standing in Florida and firing a weapon into Georgia, striking and killing a Georgia resident. The Florida person can be charged with murder or manslaughter (depending on the circumstances) in Georgia. Because the man in this case is alleged to have defrauded residents in Iowa, the Florida resident can face charges in Iowa.

Securities Fraud Charges in Florida

In Florida, a person can face securities fraud charges for a variety of schemes and activities, including activities like trading investments of a client without authorization to do so. If this activity involves forging the signature of the client (as is alleged to have occurred here), charges of forgery can also be brought. And if the activity results in the misappropriation of property belonging to the client, theft charges can be brought. In other words, it is easy for fraudulent securities activities and transactions to quickly snowball into a multi-count complaint charging a person with a variety of criminal offenses.

Securities fraud charges and other related criminal charges require a vigorous and aggressive defense. Legal counsel is highly recommended in cases in which a resident of one state is charged with committing an offense in another state without having actually set foot in that other state as jurisdiction may be an issue. Miami-based criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner has provided zealous and dedicated representation to Florida residents and others charged with white-collar crimes in Florida. Contact his office or call (305) 670-9919 for experienced legal counsel.

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