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Fraud Attorney in Tampa, Florida

Fraud is a serious offense and can lead to a prison sentence. However, fraud charges can also have many collateral consequences aside from the sentence that the court will impose. Any type of fraud charge is considered a crime of dishonesty and as such is a red flag to many employers and even landlords. That is why it is extremely important to see whether or not there is any way to get the charges dismissed or if there is a way to avoid a criminal conviction so that you are eligible to have the charges sealed or expunged so that you don’t have a permanent blemish on your criminal record.

If you or a loved one faces any type of fraud charges, contact an experienced Tampa fraud attorney immediately. Kerstin Wade has successfully defended hundreds of defendants against fraud charges and knows what it takes to successfully defend you.

Types of Fraud Charges in Florida

Florida law provides for a wide variety of fraud charges. Some of those charges, such as scheme to defraud and communications fraud often involve charges against employees and come up in the employment context. Most of those charges are considered felonies and can have serious consequences for the rest of your life.

Scheme to Defraud / Organized Fraud

Florida Statute 817.034 defines Scheme to Defraud or Organized Fraud. It involves a pattern of actions that takes place over a period of time and are intended to obtain someone else’s property by making false promises or intentional misrepresentations.

Scheme to Defraud can be either a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree felony depending on the value of the property. The value of the property is determined by adding up the value of all of the property that was taken over the entire course of the scheme.

If the value of the property is under $20,000, it is a 3rd degree felony and punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or probation and a $5,000 fine.

If the value of the property is $20,000 or more but under $50,000, it is a 2nd degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years of prison and/or probation and a $10,000 fine.

If the value of the property is $50,000 or more, it is a 1st degree felony and punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or probation and a $10,000 fine.

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Communications Fraud / Mail or Wire Fraud

Communications Fraud is a fraud committed by making misrepresentations or false promises by using any type of means of communications, such as mail, e-mail or phone with the intent to defraud. Any act of communication can be charged as a separate offense.

Communications Farad is a 3rd degree felony if the value of the property is $300 or more and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or probation and a $5,000 fine. If the value of the property is under $300, it is a 1st degree misdemeanor and punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or probation and a $1,000 fine.

Possession of Another’s Personal Identification

Florida Statute 817.5685 makes it illegal for someone to knowingly or intentionally possess any type of personal identification information of another person without their permission. This can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances.

If the defendant possessed the personal information of 4 or fewer people, it will be charged as a 1st degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or probation and a $1,000 fine.

If the defendant possessed the personal information of 5 or more people, the prosecutor will likely charge this offense as a 3rd degree felony and the charge is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or probation and a $5,000 fine.

Welfare Fraud

Welfare Fraud is defined in Florida Statute 414.39 as failing to disclose any fact that is material in making a decision for public assistance. This can involve making a false statement, or impersonating another person and also involves the failure to disclose a material change in circumstances. The statute also makes it illegal to assist another person in making such misrepresentations or failing to disclose a material fact.

If the value of the property is less than $200 over a 12 months period, this would be a 1st degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or probation and a $1,000 fine.

If the value of the property is $200 or more but less than $20,000 in a 12 months period, the state will likely charge this as a 3rd degree felony and the charge is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or probation and a $5,000 fine.

If the value of the property is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 over a 12 months period, the charge is considered a 2nd degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/ or probation and a $10,000 fine.

If the value of the property is $100,000 or more over a 12 months period, the charge is considered a 1st degree felony and punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or probation and a $10,000 fine.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud is defined in Florida Statute 817.61 and occurs when the defendant obtains goods or services by using a forged credit card, a credit card that was unlawfully obtained or by using a card the defendant is not authorized to use. This charge can be either a 1st degree misdemeanor or a 3rd degree felony. The degree of the charge depends on how much the value of the goods or services is that was obtained over a 6 months period or how often the card was used in a 6 months period.

1st Degree Misdemeanor

Credit Card Fraud is a 1st degree misdemeanor if:

  • The card was used 2 times or fewer in a 6 months time frame OR

  • The aggregate value of the goods or services obtained in 6 months was less than $100.

3rd Degree Felony

Credit Card Fraud is a 3rd degree felony if:

  • The credit card was used more than 2 times over a 6 months period OR

  • The value of goods or services obtained with he card is $100 or more.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance Fraud is defined in Florida Statute 817.234 as knowingly making any type of false statement, either orally or in writing, as part of the application for insurance or during the claim process with the intent to defraud the insurer.

If the value of the Insurance Fraud is less than $20,000, the defendant will be guilty of a 3rd degree felony and can be sentenced up to 5 years in prison and/or probation and a $5,000 fine.

If the value of the fraud is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, the defendant will be guilty of a 2nd degree felony and can be sentenced up to 15 years in prison and/or probation and a $10,000 fine.

If the value of the fraud is $100,000 or more, the defendant is guilty of a 1st degree felony and can be sentenced up to 30 years in prison and/or probation and a $10,000 fine.

Depending on the circumstances the Insurance Fraud charge may carry an additional civil penalty and a possible mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Defenses for Fraud

Defenses for fraud charges vary based on the particular circumstances and the particular charges. Some fraud charges may allow for certain exceptions. However, one of the most common defense against fraud charges is that the prosecutor is not able to prove all of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the hardest elements for the prosecutor to prove is oftentimes the intent or knowledge element.

Kerstin Wade is extremely knowledgeable fraud lawyer and has the experience necessary to mount a successful defense in your fraud case.

Hire a Tampa Fraud Attorney

Fraud charges can be very complex. Therefore, if you are charged with fraud, it is important that you hire a knowledgeable and experienced Tampa fraud lawyer to assist you in your case. Kerstin Wade offers free consultations so you can discuss your case with her and see how Kerstin can actually help you before you hire her. Kerstin Wade has an office right in downtown Tampa, only a few blocks from the Tampa courthouse and represents criminal defendants in Hillsborough, Polk and Pinellas County. Call us today at 813-401-0130 to schedule your free consultation and see how Kerstin Wade can help you with your fraud case.