If you have been accused of fraud, you could be facing some serious legal consequences. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make a notable difference in the outcome of your case.
What Constitutes Fraud?
Using false information of any kind in order to achieve financial gain is fraud. That includes using a false identity, submitting false information on applications, false marketing, or other misrepresentations. Fraud occurs over the phone, online, face-to-face, and could involve individuals, insurance companies, or businesses. Examples include:
- Pyramid and Ponzi schemes;
- Tax evasion;
- Bankruptcy fraud;
- Credit card fraud;
- Medicaid fraud;
- Mail fraud;
- Wire fraud;
- Insurance fraud;
- Identity theft;
- Telemarketing fraud;
- Insider trading;
- Workers’ compensation fraud.
Penalties for Fraud in Florida
Depending on the type of fraud, a defendant may face numerous consequences if convicted, including:
- Restitution payments to the victim;
- Attorney’s fees and other associated costs of the victim;
- Civil actions brought by the victim;
- Imprisonment for as much as 30 years.
Possible Defenses for Fraud Charges
There are a number of tacks an experienced attorney may take in defending against charges of fraud. A prosecutor will have the burden of proof in establishing that fraud has truly been committed. Coming up with sufficient evidence to support such a claim may not be easy. Additionally, the reliability of the evidence provided may be called into question.
Furthermore, intent is at the essence of fraud. A prosecutor will have to prove that any actions by the defendant were not accidental. Similarly, statements that are misleading are not necessarily fraudulent. If the statements are just opinions, or if they are commitments to do something at a later time, they do not necessarily constitute fraud.
Finally, if it can be demonstrated that the defendant was induced to commit the chicanery by a government entity, and would otherwise not have been involved in criminal activity, an entrapment defense may be appropriate. Such a defense relies on two key components:
- A lack of predisposition to commit a crime on the part of the defendant;
- Government enticement to participate in criminal activity.
Of those factors, the former is by far the most important. A defense attorney will be required to prove that the defendant was an unsuspecting and gullible pawn, as opposed to someone with a criminal mindset who happened to come upon an opportunity to commit a crime.
You Deserve an Advocate
At Aiken, O’Halloran and Foley, we believe every defendant deserves a quality defense. Our goal is to keep your record unsoiled, keep you out of jail, and minimize any financial consequences related to your charges. The best way to do that is to get your charges reduced, or, in the best-case scenario, dismissed all together. For a strong, personalized defense, contact our legal team in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda or Sarasota today. The initial consultation is free.