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Scheme to Defraud

The Morris Law Firm, P.A. criminal defense practice in St. Petersburg is experienced in defended organized scheme to defraud offenders. Since the mainstream internet movement, fraudulent activities have flourished. Florida legislative response entailed an update in its wire fraud statute to include internet fraud crimes, particularly organized fraud schemes. Scheme to defraud is any organized effort to attain currency or assets through misleading practices, or guarantees for impending rewards.

St. Petersburg Scheme to Defraud Lawyer

With most cases, an esteemed member of the community is alleged usually for an accusation that ascended during the path of the individual's employment. At the Morris Law Firm, P.A., we represent commercial vendors, and other sophisticated and certified individuals charged with this severe white collar crime. Many of our defendants have never been involved in criminal activity and would never imagine being convicted of this form of crime. Scheme to Defraud statute in Florida outlaws monetary fraud through any technology including the mail, telephone, wire, the internet, or other forms of communication.

In its exertion to safeguard the public, the legislature generated severe penalties for the wire fraud act violators. For instance, with other fraud offenses, the punishments are contingent on the quantity allegedly embezzled, with the least amounts charged as a first-degree misdemeanor carrying up to one year in prison. The law punishes fraud with property actually obtained exceeding $50,000 as a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years penal sentence. If you have been charged with this crime, it is crucial that you contact a St. Petersburg scheme to defraud criminal defense attorney promptly.

If you or someone you know has been convicted of taking part in an organized scheme to defraud crime contact the Morris Law Firm for a free initial consultation, call Pinellas County white collar criminal defense attorney Melinda Morris at (727) 388 4736 or use our convenient online form.

The Morris Law Firm, P.A. will not be able to request the sealing of your record for this white collar offense:

Scheme to defraud is a "crime of fraudulence" taken extremely serious under Florida law, equal to a misdemeanor offense. Scheme to defraud offenses are on a list of excluded offenses which are banned under Florida law to be sealed. If the court allows a settlement and places you on probation for this criminal activity, your criminal record will never be able to be expunged or sealed.

The Elements of Scheme to Defraud offenses

A scheme to defraud crime involves a continuing series of acts intentionally to defraud someone by attaining something of value through fraudulent or false promises, representations, or by intentionally parodying some future act.

Potential Penalties for Scheme to Defraud

The possible maximum sentence or punishment presented under the Florida Organized Scheme to Defraud Statute is influenced by the extent of the loss:

  • A scheme to defraud that is less than $20,000 is a 3rd-degree felony punishable by 5 years in Florida State Prison;
  • A scheme to defraud that is more than $20,000 but less than $50,000 is a 2nd-degree felony punishable by 15 years in Florida State Prison; and
  • A scheme to defraud that is more than $50,000 is a 1st-degree felony punishable by 30 years in Florida State Prison.

If no assets, currency or valuables actually traded hands throughout the scheme to defraud crime then the charge will carry a punishment contingent on the amount the offender intended to take:

  • A scheme to defraud crime involving $300 or more is a 3rd-degree felony punishable by 5 years in Florida State Prison;
  • A scheme to defraud crime involving less than $300 is a misdemeanor in the 1st degree, punishable by up to 12 months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.

Each offense or communication can be convicted independently which can affectedly escalate the sum of your bond, the score under the penalizing procedures, and the possible maximum sentence. Contact an attorney skilled in aggressively defending organized scheme to defraud cases in St. Petersburg. Call The Morris Law Firm, P.A. to discuss the specifics of your case today.

§817.034 Florida Communications Fraud Act.--

  1. LEGISLATIVE INTENT.--
  1. The Legislature recognizes that schemes to defraud have proliferated in the United States in recent years and that many operators of schemes to defraud use communications technology to solicit victims and thereby conceal their identities and overcome a victim's normal resistance to sales pressure by delivering a personalized sales message.
  2. It is the intent of the Legislature to prevent the use of communications technology in furtherance of schemes to defraud by consolidating former statutes concerning schemes to defraud and organized fraud to permit prosecution of these crimes utilizing the legal precedent available under federal mail and wire fraud statutes.
  1. --This section may be cited as the "Florida Communications Fraud Act."
  2. DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section, the term:
  1. "Communicate" means to transmit or transfer or to cause another to transmit or transfer signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature in whole or in part by mail, or by wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic, or photo-optical system.
  2. "Obtain" means temporarily or permanently to deprive any person of the right to property or a benefit therefrom, or to appropriate the property to one's own use or to the use of any other person not entitled thereto.
  3. "Property" means anything of value, and includes:
  1. Real property, including things growing on, affixed to, or found in land;
  2. Tangible or intangible personal property, including rights, privileges, interests, and claims; and
  3. Services.
  1. "Scheme to defraud" means a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act.
  2. "Value" means value determined according to any of the following:
      1. a. The market value of the property at the time and place of the offense, or, if such cannot be satisfactorily ascertained, the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the offense.
            b. The value of a written instrument that does not have a readily ascertainable market value, in the case of an instrument such as a check, draft, or promissory note, is the amount due or collectible or is, in the case of any other instrument which creates, releases, discharges, or otherwise affects any valuable legal right, privilege, or obligation, the greatest amount of economic loss that the owner of the instrument might reasonably suffer by virtue of the loss of the instrument.
            c. The value of a trade secret that does not have a readily ascertainable market value is any reasonable value representing the damage to the owner, suffered by reason of losing an advantage over those who do not know of or use the trade secret.
        1. If the value of property cannot be ascertained, the trier of fact may find the value to be not less than a certain amount; if no such minimum value can be ascertained, the value is an amount less than $300.
        2. Amounts of value of separate properties obtained in one scheme to defraud, whether from the same person or from several persons, shall be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense under paragraph (4)(a).

OFFENSES.--

        1. Any person who engages in a scheme to defraud and obtains property thereby is guilty of organized fraud, punishable as follows:
        1. If the amount of property obtained has an aggregate value of $50,000 or more, the violator is guilty of a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
        2. If the amount of property obtained has an aggregate value of $20,000 or more, but less than $50,000, the violator is guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
        3. If the amount of property obtained has an aggregate value of less than $20,000, the violator is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084
        4. Any person who engages in a scheme to defraud and, in furtherance of that scheme, communicates with any person with intent to obtain property from that person is guilty, for each such act of communication, of communications fraud, punishable as follows:
        5. If the value of property obtained or endeavored to be obtained by the communication is valued at $300 or more, the violator is guilty of a third-degree felony, punishable as set forth in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
        6. If the value of the property obtained or endeavored to be obtained by the communication is valued at less than $300, the violator is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as set forth in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
        7. Notwithstanding any contrary provisions of law, separate judgments and sentences for organized fraud under paragraph (a) and for each offense of communications fraud under paragraph (b) may be imposed when all such offenses involve the same scheme to defraud.

Conclusion: White-Collar Crime | Scheme to Defraud

Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients as the white collar crime attorney / white collar crime lawyer throughout Pinellas County and the entire Tampa Bay, FL area (St. Petersburg, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota). Scheme to Defraud takes many forms and is mired in complexity. The involvement of the state government and possibly the FBI makes it even harder to follow without a guide. Attorney Melinda Morris has years of practical and functional knowledge when it comes to white-collar crimes in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Pinellas County.

If you are facing charges related to Scheme to Defraud, contact an attorney. Contact St. Petersburg’s white-collar attorney for more information about your scheme to defraud case throughout the Tampa Bay area including Tampa, Clearwater, Bartow, New Port Richey, Dade City, Plant City, including the counties of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas or surrounding areas. Contact Attorney Melinda Morris with The Morris Law Firm, P.A. to get assistance with your legal needs related to Scheme to Defraud.

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