Organized fraud in Miami is a serious offense in Florida and is prosecuted zealously. It's defined as intentionally concealing and/or misrepresenting information with the intent to mislead and/or deceive another. The penalties for organized fraud can be extremely significant. If the U.S. mail was utilized to carry out organized fraud, the crime can be charged in federal court and additional charges like mail fraud may be sought. Additionally, if telephones and/or faxes were used, for example, that would constitute wire fraud, also a federal charge. Penalties for organized fraud in federal court can be as high as thirty years in prison and up to a million dollar fine.
Under Florida statute, a fraud scheme requires a deliberate and continuing pattern of actions with the intention of defrauding others or obtaining property under false pretenses.
Additional examples of organized fraud may also include phishing and spoofing, where the sender basically impersonates a legitimate organization to collect confidential and financial details from the target or victims. In this way, organized crime can also be associated with identity theft. Telemarketing practices where the caller attempts to persuade someone into purchasing something via the phone is another example.
Organized fraud or a fraud scheme requires evidence of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defender participated in a systemic, continuing course of action.
- The defendant sought to defraud one or multiple individuals or to receive property from one or more individuals.
- False or misleading pretenses, claims or assurances or intentional misrepresentations of a potential act is perpetrated by the act.
- Thus, the defendant acquired certain properties specified in the charging complaint.
Property is classified as something of value by the Florida Communications Fraud Act, including but not necessarily limited to:
- Real property, including items that grow on, attached to, or situated on the land.
- Personal property, along with rights, freedoms, ambitions, and claims, tangible or intangible.
The seriousness of the fines levied on a defendant accused of organized fraud is dependent on the valuation of the property involved. For instance, if the value of the property or properties in question is less than $20,000, the crime is called a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to five years in jail. The offender faces second-degree criminal charges if the total exceeded $20,000 but was less than $50,000, which may mean up to 15 years in jail. Finally, a first-degree offense can be applied against anyone who received more than $50,000, which may result in a punishment of up to 30 years in jail. It is also necessary to remember that to calculate the grade of the crime, the amount of all property purchased in one scheme would be summed together, even though the transactions were carried out by many persons.
These types of cases also get prosecuted in state court as well. The penalties in that venue can be just as significant. The statutory penalty for organized fraud in the state system is thirty years to life in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. There are numerous defenses available for these offenses.
In addition, where there are no statutes saying otherwise, separate decisions and sentences imposed by the court can be issued for each time deception in correspondence is committed if they both contain the same defrauding scheme.
When the government's attorneys are able to obtain a verdict, all fraud cases bear substantial fines. In comparison, the collateral ramifications of obtaining a fraud conviction on the record are similarly significant. For those with a fraud record, potential jobs can be complicated as these offenses are considered offenses of moral transgression and the impact of the arrest can have long term consequences.
The general information provided above about organized fraud in Fort Lauderdale is meant for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for speaking directly with an attorney about the facts and circumstances of your case. Please call 954.500.0003 in Broward or 305.674.0003 in Miami to schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh.