Contact defense attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal if you require a defense lawyer for fraud charges. Mr. Shafran has years of experience defending clients and may be able to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. The sooner you act the better your chances in court will be as our legal works diligently to prove your innocence.
At the Weinstein Legal Team, criminal defense lawyer Matt Shafran will work tirelessly to defend your rights against numerous theft and property cases.
Types of Fraud Charges
The act of committing fraud, by Florida law, entails purposefully concealing information, lying, or participating in a dishonest act to trick another person for your own gain. Fraud charges can encompass many different offenses and some are more serious than others. However, no matter what you are facing charges for, it is imperative that you hire a fraud attorney to represent you.
The most common type of fraud charges include:
- Credit card fraud
- Check fraud or forgery
- Making false statements to financial institutions
- Identify theft and social security fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Mail fraud
- Telemarketing fraud
- Wire fraud
You may face fraud charges if law enforcement catches you using another person's driver's license to represent yourself, using stolen credit card numbers, or health insurance information.
Fraud Defined According to Florida Law
According to Florida Statue 817.034, a fraud charge is defined as a systematic, ongoing course with the intent to defraud one or more persons with the intent to obtain property through false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, willful misrepresentations of a future act.
Establishing Fraud Charges
In order to establish guilt for fraud charges, a prosecutor's office must prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt. As the prosecutor will be working hard to convict you, you deserve to have the same aggressive representation working to prove your innocence.
First, in order to receive a fraud conviction the prosecutor's office must be able to prove that you intentionally and purposefully misrepresented yourself in some way. This protects individuals who make mistakes and provide inaccurate information without the intention to defraud another individual.
For instance, if you present something like a check and/or ID to a financial institution like a bank that is false or misleading, you can be charged with numerous offenses. Additionally, if you accidentally grab a friend's driver's license off the counter and present it at a store, thinking that it's yours, you will not face fraud charges. However, if you intentionally take your friend's driver's license and try to use it, this is illegal.
Knowledge of False Information
Another element in fraud cases is having knowledge that the information you are using or presenting to another individual is false. This is another thing that protects individuals who make honest mistakes. For example, a credit application may ask you if you have made any late payments on other accounts within the past 12 months. You may answer no on the application not realizing or remembering that you did have a late payment a few months ago. At the time you answered the question, you did not have knowledge that the information you provided was false.
However, if you purposefully answer no on said application in hopes that you will receive approval for a greater line of credit by misleading the company, this is considered fraud.
A Victim Must Rely on Your Misrepresentation
Fraud is not a victimless crime. Someone, or some company, must be relying on the information you are providing to make a decision. For example, telemarketing fraud is a common occurrence where individuals misrepresent themselves on the phone for financial gain. Or, should you use another person's health insurance information in an attempt to receive coverage, the health insurance company is the party relying on your representation.
A Victim Must Suffer a Loss
The element of loss is important in financial fraud. It may be a private party or a company that suffers a loss as a result of your misrepresentation. However, a loss does not always need to be monetary. If you use another person's identification you are still depriving them of their personal information and right to privacy.
An experienced fraud attorney will know how to build a case in your defense disproving these elements.
Penalties for Fraud Charges
There are several things that a judge will take into consideration before sentencing you to penalties for fraud charges. These include whether or not you have a prior criminal history, whether your charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, who was hurt by your actions, and how much that person or company suffered as a result, and more.
For fraud charges that are misdemeanors, you will face up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. Felony charges carry prison time that exceeds one year and much heavier fines. Additionally, if you have caused financial harm you may have to pay restitution, reimbursing the individual or company that you have hurt.
A felony conviction can follow you around for the rest of your life. It may make it challenging to find employment or housing, and many employers are hesitant to hire individuals with fraud convictions even if they are misdemeanors. As a convicted felon you will lose your right to own a firearm and will not be able to vote for a period of time. With so much to lose, it is essential to have a fraud attorney on your side fighting on your behalf.
Hiring a Fraud Defense Attorney in Florida
If you are facing fraud charges in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, don't wait. Contact the Weinstein Legal Team today for a FREE case evaluation with no obligation. Mr. Shafran will review the facts surrounding your charges. When you work with the Weinstein Legal Team you will have access to your fraud attorney 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.