Our Tampa criminal defense team has gained a lot of experience in defending Florida citizens who have been charged with fraud over the years.
Fraud is most commonly referred to as a “white collar crime” – a term that generally refers to scams or schemes where lying, cheating, and stealing occurs against businesses, families and investors.
These crimes can cost billions of dollars and have gotten more sophisticated over the years as digital technology advances.
With the digital age of computers and Internet in full swing, the opportunity to commit fraud has been greatly increased. Many types of fraud can start with a single email, and potential victims can be found very easily with the Internet.
However, the risk to commit these crimes is also increased as many of these crimes can be uncovered and traced back to the perpetrators due to the way the flow of information is stored and archived online.
As a result, there is a greater increase in attempts to commit fraud, as well as an equal increase in the amount of fraud charges being prosecuted. Investigators are actively pursuing these types of crimes with all available resources in an effort to help prevent fraud before it occurs.
Typical methods for defending fraud charges include:
1. ) Proving there was no fraudulent intent.
Our job as criminal defense attorneys are to help ensure prosecution is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was intent to defraud. For example, if a defendant is being charged with check fraud, they cannot be found guilty of check fraud if they believed they had enough money to cover that check.
2. ) Proving there was no unlawful purpose.
Florida statutes prohibit the possession of another person’s identifying information and using that information for any illegal purpose without that person’s consent. Many times we see cases where a defendant has been charged under this section, yet they haven’t actually used that information unlawfully. If this occurs, then the defendant should be acquitted.
Simple possession of the personal identifying information of somebody else is not necessarily a crime. The crime is committed if the information is used in an unlawful manner or with fraudulent intent.
3. ) Did entrapment occur?
Although difficult to prove in the State of Florida and elsewhere in the United States, entrapment is another typical defense angle that may be pursued if applicable to that case.
Many people think that entrapment is committed when the police provide a suspect with an opportunity to commit a crime, however this is not entirely true. Entrapment does not occur unless the police have used coercion on an individual in order to get them to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. Proving coercion existed in the entrapment scenario can be difficult, but it is definitely possible as we have had experience and success with entrapment defense.
4. ) Cases of mistaken identity.
Another useful fraud defense is to argue mistaken identity. Generally speaking, there are two types of instances that would pave the way for this type of defense. The first would be a simple mistaken identification by a witness. The second would be if you have been mistakenly identified by assumption.
An example of mistaken identity could be made if for instance, two people are living together and one of them has their identity stolen. The victim might blame the person living with them thinking they were the only one with access to that information. Another example would be if a caregiver is accused of using an elderly person’s credit card to make fraudulent transactions when it could have been a family member instead.
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How can the Fernandez Law Group help me if I’ve been charged with Fraud?
Fraud charges are usually a federal offense and we often see scenarios where investigations have been ongoing for quite some time. In more serious instances, it is not uncommon at all for the FBI to pursue these cases and prosecute them aggressively as well.
Our team of attorneys includes a former prosecutor who has over 20 years experience working on that side of the courtroom. Because of that insight we are able to better communicate with the prosecution on your behalf, often reducing charges, bail amounts, and sentencing before a trial date is even discussed – and in some cases, trial may not even be necessary.
Federal cases are much more complex and require a great deal of knowledge and experience to successfully defend. Our attorneys are all qualified to practice law in federal court, yet fewer than 10% of Florida attorneys have this ability.
Along with the federal charges, many of these crimes are also automatic felonies. Penalties can include revocation or denial of state or professional licensing. And in the long term, your credibility could be undermined as these offenses consist of moral turpitude. Legal and undocumented immigrants may also face possible detention and deportation.
If you are charged with a white collar criminal offense, it is important that you obtain experienced legal representation immediately, as the stakes are typically very high in these cases.
When you have a team of attorneys with former prosecutorial experience working on your behalf, who are also part of the fewer than 10% in Florida qualified for federal practice, you are getting very solid representation that shows the prosecution you mean business.
Let us show you why we’ve continued to grow and gain the reputation we’ve achieved over the years.
Call us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and find out what we can do to begin helping you with your defense immediately before you spend a dime!
Content authored by Frank Fernandez