Miami Fraud Crime Defense Attorney
Fraud is a serious crime in Florida that is zealously prosecuted by state and federal authorities. A fraud conviction will result in severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, probation and restitution, and may also interfere with professional opportunities, particularly for individuals in the accounting, banking or finance sectors. If you are facing state or federal fraud charges, the best decision you can make is to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Conveniently located in Miami, Valiente Law aggressively defends clients against fraud charges throughout South Florida. Because fraud is a nonviolent, white collar crime, it is essential to be represented by attorneys who understand the elements of fraud and how these charges are investigated and prosecuted.
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Common Types of Fraud Crime
Our legal team has a proven history of successfully defending a wide variety of fraud charges, including:
- Bank fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Healthcare fraud (Medicare/Medicaid fraud)
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Mail fraud
- Tax fraud
- Wire fraud
When you consult us, you will have confidence knowing that our dedicated advocates will work tirelessly to protect your rights.
What is fraud?
Fraud is defined as an intentionally deceptive act carried out by an individual or entity to (1) obtain unlawful gain of something of value or (2) deprive the victim of a legal right. Put more simply, fraud is the theft of money, property or services that involve elements of deception or misrepresentation.
Fraud Charges in Florida
In Florida, fraud is classified as organized fraud or communications fraud:
- Organized fraud — occurs when an individual or entity obtains property through an ongoing scheme to defraud
- Communications fraud — involves communications by mail, telephone or other electronic communications to fraudulently obtain property
The penalties for fraud depend on whether the crime is classified as organized fraud or communications fraud and the value of the property that is taken. Organized fraud can be prosecuted as a first, second, or third-degree felony with penalties ranging from 5 to 30 years in prison, significant fines, probation and restitution. Communications fraud of property valued at $300 or more is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. If the value of the property is less than $300, the offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor which can result in 1 year in jail and up to $500 in fines.
Federal Fraud Charges
Fraud can also be prosecuted at the federal level, and the most common federal charges are mail fraud and wire fraud:
- Mail fraud involves the use the U.S. mail or a private interstate carrier, to engage in fraudulent activity (e.g. mailing contracts, receipts, invoices or other communications regarding a fraudulent scheme). A conviction for mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and heavy fines. If the crime involves a financial institution, benefits related to a federally declared disaster or emergency, or other special circumstances, then the penalties will be elevated.
- Wire fraud involves the use of wire, radio, or television communications in interstate or foreign commerce. “Communications” include any writings, signals, pictures or sounds, interstate wire communications involving telephone calls, or other e-communications such as fax machines, the internet, or television. Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and significant fines, and the penalties will be elevated if the crime involves the same special circumstances as mail fraud.
In federal fraud cases, agencies such as the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), may lead the investigation and prosecution. Because the federal government has unlimited financial resources and relies on aggressive investigative techniques, it is crucial to have an attorney in your corner who can level the playing field and protect your rights.
Contact Our Miami Fraud Crime Defense Attorney
Although the state and federal government have an unfair advantage in fraud cases, prosecutors must be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. At Valiente Law, we know how to assert a number of defenses against fraud charges.
The strongest defense is that you did not intentionally commit fraud. If you provided or transmitted information that you didn’t know was false, for example, we may be able to show that you lacked the requisite intent to commit the crime. Similarly, to be considered fraudulent, a misrepresentation must refer to an existing fact. Therefore, a statement that is an opinion, or a promise to take action in the future, may not constitute fraud. Finally, it may be possible to raise an entrapment defense if we can show that you would not have committed fraud had you not been coerced by law enforcement.
In any event, our objective is to win an acquittal. Our legal team is well-versed in the applicable fraud statutes and has a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes in state and federal court. We will take the time to explain all of your rights and help you navigate the criminal justice system. When your freedom and your future are in jeopardy, it is imperative to have the aggressive legal representation Valiente Law is prepared to provide.
Contact our office today for a free evaluation of your case. We have finacing available!