Organized Fraud Attorney in Miami, FL
If you or a loved one has been arrested or investigated for organized fraud in Miami-Dade County, it is critical to consult with an experienced Miami organized fraud attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected. You need the counsel of an experienced fraud crimes attorney to guide you through the process and maximize your chances of resolving your case with a favorable outcome.
What is Organized Fraud?
Under the Florida Communications Fraud Act (Florida Statute 817.034), to prove the criminal charge of organized fraud, the prosecutor must prove two elements:
1. That the defendant engaged in a scheme to defraud.
2. That the defendant obtained property by using the scheme to defraud.
A “scheme to defraud” is technically defined as a “systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act.” The federal government also prosecutes schemes to defraud, primarily wire fraud and mail fraud. In fact, Florida’s law was based on these federal charges. In plain English, it basically means a fraud scheme when the defendant is accused of intentionally misrepresenting something to get something of value from another person. In other words, fraud.
Common Organized Schemes to Defraud
An organized scheme to defraud can be applied to just about any ongoing, systematic conduct to defraud people. There certainly isn’t a shortage of examples in South Florida. The possible forms of fraud are endless. Here are some common types:
- Business and investment fraud
- Misrepresenting the nature of sold goods or services
- Charity and disaster fraud schemes
- Falsifying financial information or assets to obtain money from a financial institution (bank fraud) or property on credit
- Identity theft schemes
- Consumer fraud schemes
- Fraudulently obtaining goods or services
- Fraudulent schemes to obtain refunds
- Credit card fraud and gift card schemes
- Healthcare fraud schemes
- Insurance fraud schemes
- Mortgage fraud schemes
- Security fraud schemes
- Spoofing and Phishing
Because of the serious penalties in an organized fraud case, you should seek immediate legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney. A strong defense strategy and early investigation are essential to the outcome of a client’s case at our law firm.
What are the Penalties for Organized Fraud?
There are different levels of this criminal offense, just like there are degrees in theft charges. The maximum punishment someone faces, if they are convicted of organized fraud charges depends on the value of the property obtained. The possible penalties for an organized scheme to defraud under Florida law are based on the combined value of the property that the person allegedly obtained via the scheme to defraud.
The greater the value, the greater the possible sentence:
- Organized Fraud of $50,000 or More is a First-Degree Felony which means that it is punishable by up to thirty (30) years in state prison if convicted.
- Organized Fraud of $20,000 to $50,000 is a Second-Degree Felony which means that it is punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in state prison if convicted.
- Organized Fraud of less than $20,000 is a Third-Degree Felony which means that it is punishable by up to five (5) years in state prison if convicted.
Defenses to Organized Scheme to Defraud
An organized scheme to defraud can be defended in a number of ways, but it is most commonly defended by claiming that the defendant had no intent to defraud. For example, in a case where the defendant sold a service or good to a number of people and failed to perform or deliver under the contract, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant had the intent to defraud at the time of the sale. Although failing to perform the service or deliver the good can be circumstantial evidence of the defendant’s intent to defraud, it must be combined with other evidence showing that this was the defendant’s intent from the beginning. You may be able to present a lack of intent defense if you intended to provide the service or good but ended up not being able to because of things outside of your control. Criminal courts are not the appropriate forum for many of these types of cases.
Because of the complex nature of scheme to defraud investigations, they can take longer than an investigation in a run-of-the-mill criminal case. Consequently, a statute of limitations defense can sometimes come into play. A prosecution must be brought within 5 years of the charged acts allegedly being committed. A year can be added to the period if you are away from Florida during those five years, or your residence or employment in the State of Florida cannot be reasonably determined. The statute of limitations allows your attorney to file a motion to dismiss after these time periods have expired.
Florida Communications Fraud Act – Florida’s organized fraud statute.
Jury Instructions for Organized Fraud – Jury instructions in Word format from the Florida Supreme Court.
Contact an Experienced Miami Organized Fraud Lawyer
Over the years, we have represented hundreds of clients in a wide range of cases. There is a good chance that we have dealt with your type of case and have represented clients who shared similar needs and concerns that you may have. Feel free to browse through the results section of our site for a representative sample of some of our past cases and the results we have achieved for our clients.
By taking the immediate action of hiring an experienced Miami organized fraud lawyer to defend yourself, you are reducing the chances that you will receive a fraud conviction that will have lasting consequences for your career, personal life, and reputation.
CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at (305) 538-4545, or simply take a moment to fill out our confidential and secure intake form.* The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.
*Due to the large number of people who contact our law office requesting our assistance, it is strongly suggested that you take the time to provide us with specific details regarding your case by filling out our confidential and secure intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry in a timely and appropriate manner.
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