The knowledgeable attorneys at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. represent Florida residents who have been charged with fraud and a wide variety of other white collar offenses. We are former state prosecutors who know how the government often approaches these cases and understand how to build strong defenses. White collar crimes charged under federal or state laws are serious, often technically complicated matters that can lead to significant consequences extending for the rest of your life. This is why it is vital to have an experienced Tampa Bay fraud defense lawyer in your corner, even if you have not yet been officially charged with a crime. We are committed to standing by clients throughout the legal process and fighting to protect their rights at every step of the way.Consequences for Fraud Convictions in Florida
Fraud is one of the more commonly prosecuted white collar crimes in Florida. It refers to crimes in which a person lies or uses tricks or deceit to take money or some other sort of benefit from another person or entity. It is somewhat like robbery or other theft crimes, except without using a gun or the threat of force. Insurance fraud, for example, occurs when a person or business files a false insurance claim to try to get money (or more money than warranted) out of an insurer. A person who uses another person’s credit card without permission similarly commits credit card fraud.
The potential punishment for a fraud conviction ranges widely based on the circumstances, including the value of the property obtained via the fraud. For example, making false statements to obtain property or credit is a first-degree misdemeanor that is punishable by $1,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. This is in addition to being forced to compensate the victim of the crime for their losses, similar to many defendants in shoplifting cases. Insurance fraud is a second- or third-degree felony, punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and potentially decades behind bars. Those penalties often increase for repeat offenders.Defenses in Fraud Cases
There are a number of potential defenses, under both state law and the U.S. Constitution, available to a person charged with a white collar crime in Florida. It is crucial that you consult an experienced fraud defense attorney in the Tampa Bay area as early as possible in the process to start building these defenses. Even if you are simply under investigation and have not yet been charged with a crime, a lawyer may be able to help avoid or reduce the charges against you. The attorney can also start setting the stage for your defense in court if your case goes to trial.
Intent is a key element of proving fraud. For instance, Florida law defines a “scheme to defraud” for wire fraud purposes as “a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property....” In other words, prosecutors need to prove that you meant to defraud the victim – or someone else – in order to secure a conviction. Although they can use circumstantial evidence and witness testimony to try to prove that you knew what you were doing, getting inside someone’s head is no easy task. It is important to remember that prosecutors at all times have the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.How Our Tampa Bay Fraud Defense Attorneys Can Assist You
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we are dedicated to finding solutions for people charged with fraud and other white collar crimes. We fully understand the legal issues that often come up in these cases, and we know what judges and juries often focus on evaluating in deciding them. Our firm has a strong track record of success for clients in criminal cases. We serve defendants in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, as well as the surrounding cities and counties. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to discuss your case with a fraud defense lawyer in the Tampa Bay area.