Technology is changing the way we live. Years ago, phones were used to make calls. Now, cell phones are an integral part of our lives. From emails, text messages, to the rise of many messaging applications, technology has made communication much easier and faster. It has also created easy ways for high-tech criminals to use schemes to defraud and other illegal activities.
Florida recognizes this and that many cybercrooks use technology to conceal their identities and to easily gain the confidence of their target victims. As such, Florida’s statutes on frauds now include criminal acts performed using different communication channels.
According to Florida’s State Law, a Scheme to Defraud refers to a systematic and well-planned activity and communication to defraud one or more persons. It includes the intent to wrongfully take or attempt to take the property of another under fraudulent or false pretenses and representations. This can be done through any technological means and channels, which can include the internet, mail, wire, telephone, and other channels of communication.
Classification and Penalties for Schemes to Defraud as Felony
Scheme to defraud is considered to fall under organized fraud and is taken very seriously under Florida Law. Any person proven guilty to have engaged in a scheme to defraud and have taken the property of others through it may be penalized differently, based on the value of the property obtained.
Below are the sentences for those guilty of perpetuating Schemes to Defraud in Florida:
- If the property obtained has a total value of not more than $20,000, the crime is considered as a third-degree felony. This crime is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding five years, and a fine of $5,000.
- If the property obtained is more than $20,000 but less than $50,000, it is considered as a second-degree felony. This conviction is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years, and a fine of $10,000.
- If the property obtained is more than $50,000, the crime committed is considered as a first-degree felony. This crime is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding thirty years, and a fine of $10,000.
Even the defendant took no property was taken by the defendant during the communication, but there was intent to take such property, he can still face penalties if found guilty. The following are the penalties, per Florida Statutes:
- For a scheme to defraud in which the property under investigation has a total value of $300 or more, the charge is a third-degree felony. This crime is punishable by imprisonment which shall not exceed five years, and a fine of $5,000 if found guilty.
- For a scheme to defraud in which the property in question has a total value of not more than $300, the guilty violator will be charged with a misdemeanor in the first degree. If found guilty, he will be sentenced to an imprisonment not exceeding one year, and a fine of $ 1000.
Let a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida Help You
Whether you have been wrongfully accused or you are a victim of any schemes to defraud in Florida, seek legal help immediately! A criminal lawyer experienced and knowledgeable in Florida Statutes on Fraud can provide the legal assistance you need and help you fight the charges today. Call the Law Offices of Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. right away at 954-462-1005 and let our legal team take over your case.