West Palm Beach Fraud Lawyer
Not all theft involves robbing someone at gunpoint. Indeed, fraud has become a far more common way of taking the property of others. At the same time, many people are falsely or incorrectly charged with criminal fraud.
An experienced West Palm Beach fraud lawyer can assist you if you have been charged with using deception or other unlawful means to allegedly steal property. At the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., we represent many clients who have been charged with participating in identity theft, mail fraud, and similar schemes. We can review the facts of your case and advise you of your best options for presenting a defense.
How Florida Classifies Fraud Crimes
In broad terms, fraud refers to deceiving someone and causing them to suffer a loss. Florida law tends to recognize criminal fraud as either “organized fraud” or “communications fraud”. Organized fraud means that a person engaged in a “scheme to defraud” and successfully obtained the property of another. Communications fraud means a person used some form of communication, such as the mail or the Internet, in an attempt to fraudulently obtain property from someone else. It is, of course, possible to commit both organized fraud and communications fraud, but they are still considered separate crimes.
Communications fraud is the less severe charge. A conviction of communications fraud where the goal was to obtain less than $300 is a first-degree misdemeanor, otherwise it is a third-degree felony. Organized fraud is always a felony, starting at third-degree if the property taken is valued at less than $20,000. If the fraud involves $100,000 or more in property, the offender can be charged with a first-degree felony, which carries a potential 30-year prison sentence.
There are also more specific types of fraud that can run afoul of both state and federal law and lead to additional charges. Some of the more common forms of fraud we see clients charged with include:
- bank fraud, such as writing bad checks or lying on a loan application;
- wire fraud, where a person makes false representations via telephone or Internet to obtain property;
- mail fraud, which is like wire fraud but involves using the Postal Service or a private mail carrier;
- bankruptcy fraud, where a person lies on a bankruptcy petition such as by concealing assets;
- tax fraud, which involves knowingly avoiding a lawful tax obligation; and
- insurance fraud, where a person files a false insurance claim.
Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson Today
In the eyes of the law, fraud is theft. So you should not assume that prosecutors will go easy on you just because you are not accused of armed robbery or engaging in a violent act. Fraud can and does lead to serious jail time upon conviction. So if you are facing such charges, you need to work with a qualified West Palm Beach fraud lawyer who can provide you with a zealous defense. Contact the Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A., today if you need to speak with an attorney right away.