Criminal Defense Lawyer in Miami Representing Individuals Accused of Fraud and other White Collar Crimes
Fraud is a crime that is generally defined very broadly in criminal statutes. This is by design: with a far-reaching definition, prosecutors can use fraud statutes to punish a wide variety of behaviors. But a broad definition can also expose defendants to prosecutions that may not be appropriate to the circumstances. This is why it is important for any defendant charged with fraud to consult with an experienced white collar crimes defense attorney before making any statements to law enforcement investigators or prosecutors.
The experienced criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. know how to protect a defendant’s constitutional rights at every stage of a law enforcement investigation and criminal court proceedings. He has defended white collar crimes in state and federal courts throughout Florida. He can help protect your constitutional rights against self-incrimination, illegally seized evidence, improper jury procedures, or excessive punishments. Call (305) 615-1285 today to schedule your free phone consultation.
What is Fraud?
Black’s Law Dictionary defines fraud as a deceitful practice or willful device, resorted to with the intent to deprive another of their right, or in some manner to do them an injury. As distinguished from negligence, it is always intentional. This definition covers a wide range of intentional acts that could potentially be used as a scheme to deprive another of his or her property rights. In order to more clearly define prohibited acts, and create functional criminal statutes that can be used to secure successful convictions, the Florida Statutes create many different specific crimes related to fraud.
Section 817.234 prohibits false and fraudulent insurance claims. This Section prohibits claimants from knowingly making a written or oral statement that contains any false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning any fact or thing material to such claim; as part of, or in support of, a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy. Such false, incomplete, or misleading statements are also prohibited in connection with the issuance of a health insurance policy, and it is also a crime to knowingly conceal information concerning any fact material to such an application. Notice that this Section takes the standard elements of fraud (an intentional act taken to deprive another of his or her rights) and applies it to insurance claims (applying fraud to the specific circumstance of depriving an insurance company of its right to deny wrongful claims).
Similarly, the Florida Statutes also make provisions specific to fraud in the process of securing a mortgage. Section 817.545 broadly defines mortgage fraud and prohibits a wide range of activities related to the fraudulent production of a mortgage loan. These include: knowingly making any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission during the mortgage lending process; receiving any proceeds or any other funds in connection with the mortgage lending process that the person knew resulted from misstatements; or filing with the clerk of the court a document involved in the mortgage lending process which contains a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission. This Section specifically creates an exemption for information that is omitted about assets, income, or employment for a loan that does not require that information. The Section is thus written to protect lenders from intentional misinformation that would cause them to lose money on a risky investment – not information that would make a solid investment appear riskier.
The Florida Communications Fraud Act (Section 817.034) is designed to prevent fraudulent schemes by phone, text, email, and other forms of communication. Any person who engages in a scheme to defraud and, in furtherance of that scheme, communicates with any person with the intent to obtain property from that person is guilty of communications fraud (for each act of communication). If the value of the property obtained or attempted to be obtained by the communication is valued at $300 or more, the violator can be found guilty of a third-degree felony. If the value of the property obtained or attempted to be obtained is valued at less than $300, the violator is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. This Section also includes a provision for fraud that results in the theft of trade secrets, as opposed to tangible property with a value that can be readily determined. The value of a trade secret that does not have a readily ascertainable market value is any reasonable calculable value representing the damage to the owner, suffered by reason of losing the advantage over those who do not know of or use the trade secret.
The Collateral Consequences of a Fraud Conviction
A fraud conviction carries penalties beyond the expected prison time, fines and court fees. A felony conviction can have serious repercussions in other areas of the defendant’s life. Felony convictions can prevent a person from obtaining professional licensure, enrolling in certain programs of higher education, or even finding housing. Many professionally managed properties are not available to be rented to persons with a criminal record. Mortgages and other financing options may also not be available to a felon, and this, too, can restrict a person’s housing options. In addition, it can be difficult to find employment for anyone with a criminal record. Prospective employers almost always ask about a person’s criminal record, and this often prevents the applicant from getting the job. As you can see, the consequences of any conviction can follow a person for years after his or her sentence is complete.
Call Today to Discuss Your Case with a Miami Fraud Defense Lawyer
As you can see, there are many serious consequences to a fraud conviction. This is why it is so important to protect yourself from improper convictions based upon forced confessions, illegally obtained evidence, witnesses who are not credible, or other violations of important constitutional rights. The experienced Miami criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. can help protect your constitutional rights during an investigation, charging, pretrial court hearings, at trial, and – if necessary – on appeal. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. Don’t delay – the sooner you consult with an experienced white collar crimes attorney, the better protected your legal rights will be. You can also contact us through our online contact form.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.