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South Florida is the leader of the United States in fraud investigations and criminal fraud charges. Some less sophisticated forms of fraud are simple, like using another person’s credit card, applying for identification in another’s name, or selling leased property. In contrast, organized fraud, or “scheme to defraud,” involves engaging in a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud or obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, or willful misrepresentations of a future act.
The penalties for identity theft can be severe and sometimes can result in mandatory incarceration. In addition, a person who was not a United States citizen could be deported from the U.S. You should contact an attorney with experience in both criminal defense and immigration law for further legal advice.
Attorneys for Organized Fraud in Miami, FL
If you were arrested for organized fraud or scheme to defraud in Miami, Florida, you should immediately contact Hubbs Law Firm. Our founding attorney, E.J. Hubbs, handles a variety of theft and fraud-related offenses. Organized fraud is a serious criminal charge with serious potential penalties. You need an experienced and highly qualified attorney on your side to fight for your rights in court. E.J. Hubbs is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar. This means he is one of the few attorneys in his field that is qualified as a knowledgeable attorney in criminal trial law. Attorney E.J. Hubbs is a former prosecutor who has handled over 10,000 criminal cases and taken over 50 jury trials to verdict.
Hubbs Law Firm handles all types of fraud cases in Miami-Dade County, South Miami, North Miami, Doral, Homestead, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Kendall, and Hialeah, as well as other cities and areas in the Greater Miami Area.
We offer free initial consultations for most cases, so call today to schedule your appointment: (305) 570-4802.
Elements of Organized Fraud
Organized fraud is defined under Florida Statute 817.034, the Florida communications fraud act, as “scheme to defraud” which means engaging in a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud or obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, or willful misrepresentations of a future act.
Under the Florida Jury Instruction 20.19, to prove the crime of organized fraud, the state of Florida must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant engaged in a scheme to defraud
- The defendant thereby obtained property
If you find the defendant guilty of organized fraud, you must also determine if the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt whether:
- The aggregated value of the property obtained was $50,000 or more
- The aggregated value of the property obtained was $20,000 or more but less than $50,000
- The aggregated value of the property obtained was less than $20,000
Penalties for Organized Fraud
Under Florida Statute 817.034, the penalties for organized fraud vary depending on the value of the property obtained in the scheme to defraud.
Under Florida Statute 817.034, the following penalties can apply:
- If the aggregated value of the property obtained was $50,000 or more, the defendant is convicted of a first-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison
- If the aggregated value of the property obtained was $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, the defendant is convicted of a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison
- If the aggregated value of the property obtained was less than $20,000, the defendant is convicted of a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison
Defenses to Organized Fraud
There are a number of potential defenses to organized fraud, or scheme to defraud, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Common defenses include:
- Identity – In every criminal case, the state of Florida must prove that you were the person that committed the crime. Many organized fraud cases involve proving the defendant committed the crime through circumstantial evidence involving fraudulent documents. If the state of Florida’s case is largely based on circumstantial evidence with no eyewitnesses that can testify you committed the crime, you may have a legal defense.
- Lack of Intent – The state of Florida must prove you had the intent to defraud or obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, or willful misrepresentations of a future act. If you did not intend to defraud the other party, possibly due to accident or mistake, then you may have a legal defense to the charge.
- Value – If the state proves you are guilty of the crime organized fraud, they still must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the value of property lost by the victim. While not an absolute defense to the crime, convincing a jury that the value of the property is less than $20,000, for example, could reduce your exposure from a maximum of 30 years in prison to a maximum of five years in prison.
Find a Lawyer for Organized Fraud Crimes in Miami-Dade County, FL
If you were charged with organized fraud in Miami, you will need quality legal representation. Our experienced criminal and immigration attorney, E.J. Hubbs, can sit down with you free of charge for a consultation and discuss the facts of your case, potential defenses, and case strategy for trial. Our firm defends clients charged with all types of fraud in Miami and throughout Miami-Dade County, including Hialeah, North Miami Beach, Kendall, Homestead, Miami Gardens, North Miami, and South Miami and anywhere else in the area.
At Hubbs Law Firm, your first consultation is always free. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (305) 570-4802.
- Florida Office of the Attorney General - The Attorney General’s office handles identity theft at the appellate level. Find information on protecting your identity, reporting identity theft, and statistical information for identity theft in Florida.
- Federal Trade Commission- The Federal Trade Commission is a federal agency that is in charge of consumer protection. Find information on reporting and recovering from identity theft.
Attorneys E.J. & Erika Hubbs
As professional Miami criminal defense attorneys, we take every case personally give every client the deliberate care it deserves. Our clients become part of our family and we fight relentlessly for their rights. Read more about us to find out how we can help you.
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