In Florida, when an individual defrauds another by hiding his identity and sending personalized sales messages to unsuspecting victims, he can be charged under the state organized fraud statute. Organized fraud is considered a serious crime, so if convicted the defendant faces serious penalties, making it critical for those who have been accused of fraud to have a strong defense. To speak to an experienced economic crime attorney about your arrest or charges, contact a member of our legal team to schedule an individual meeting with an attorney.
What is a scheme to defraud?
According to Florida law, a plan to defraud involves a systematic and continuous course of conduct with the intention of defrauding someone or obtaining property with false pretenses. A variety of different practices fall under this broad definition, including:
- Fraud schemes in which a sender impersonates a valid company to obtain recipient information
- Telemarketing, when the caller tries to convince a person to buy something over the phone
- Counterfeiting, a form of market manipulation that involves convincing others to believe that there are large orders for future contracts in order to prompt them to make trades that then artificially raise prices.
Although LaFlorida law specifically prohibits the use of email, phones, or computers to perpetuate organized fraud, prosecutors are not required to prove that a defendant used one of these forms of communication. Instead, prosecutors only need to demonstrate that the defendant participated in a plan to defraud another person and obtained the property as a result. This includes any valuables, such as real estate, tangible assets, or intangible properties, such as rights and interests or services.
The severity of the penalties facing a defendant who has been convicted of organized fraud depends on the value of the property in question. For example, if the value of the property or property in question was less than $ 20,000, the offense is considered a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. If, on the other hand, the amount exceeds $ 20,000, but was less than $ 50,000, the defendant faces second-degree felony charges, which could mean up to 15 years in prison. Finally, those who raised more than $ 50,000 may be charged with a first degree crime, which is punishable by 30 years in prison. It is also important to note that the value of all assets obtained in a scheme will be added together to determine the degree of the offense,
Those convicted of using communication to defraud another face five years in prison, as long as the property has been valued at more than $ 300. Even if the assets were worth less than $ 300, the defendant could still be charged with a first degree misdemeanor.
Contact a member of our economic crime legal team.
If you have been accused of participating in organized fraud, call Jeffrey S. Weiner, PA Criminal Defense Attorneys at (305) 670-9919 to speak to an attorney who can evaluate your case for free. Our South Florida attorneys can guide you through each step of the process.