What Constitutes As Fraud Under Florida Law?
Fraud is the purposeful falsification of information, the perversion of the truth, or the false representation of a matter of fact. In essence, fraud is lying, but on a grand scale. Under Florida law, an individual commits fraud when they conceal information that should not have been concealed, when they purposefully lie, or when they undertake any sort of dishonest act for the purpose of benefiting themselves and duping another. A person found guilty of fraud in Florida faces anything from restitution to extensive jail time. If you have been charged with fraud in Florida, it would be in your best interest to contact a Miami civil litigation lawyer to defend your rights and reputation.
What Are the Elements of Fraud?
In order to find someone guilty of fraud in Florida, the prosecution must prove that the person’s actions included the following five elements:
- Knowledge that their statement was untrue;
- A false statement of material fact;
- An injury to someone else as a result;
- Justifiable confidence by the victim on the statement that the person made; and
- An intention on the defendant’s part to dupe the victim.
What Is Considered Fraud?
Fraud can come in many forms, from credit card theft to forgery, and from misleading advertisements to unlawful possession and use of another person’s identity. Some common examples of fraud that our Miami civil litigation lawyers routinely deal with include:
- Tax Fraud: Tax fraud occurs when you avoid paying your taxes by hiding your income, claiming unlawful deductions and credits, filing a return under someone else’s name, or failing to file a return at all for several consecutive years. Tax fraud is punishable by hefty fines, high interest rates for missed taxes, and jail time. An individual who commits tax fraud can face both criminal and civil penalties.
- Public Assistance Fraud: You may be found guilty of public assistance fraud if you obtain public assistance via false means. False means can include falsifying your identity, falsifying your income, failing to claim certain income, using the benefits that belong to someone else in your household, or selling or trading your food stamps. If you are found guilty of public assistance fraud, you face hefty fines, jail time, or both. You may also be asked to repay the benefits you received under false pretenses, and be banned from receiving public assistance for 10 years to life.
- Corporate Fraud: At The Baez Law Firm, our Miami civil litigation lawyers routinely assist individuals who are charged with corporate fraud clear their name and reputation. Corporate fraud occurs when fraudulent schemes that are large and complex in scope are carried out in order to mislead investors, employees, lenders, whole communities, and even the entire financial market. If you are found guilty of corporate fraud, you face much harsher punishment that those found guilty of other types of fraud, including up to 10 to 20 years of incarceration. You will also be forced to repay the amount of money – if not more – that you gained from your fraudulent activity.
- Federal Fraud: Federal fraud occurs when an individual commits interstate fraud. The most common types of interstate fraud include wire transfers and mail fraud. You may also be guilty of federal fraud if you claim to know something as important as the cure to cancer, but in actuality, you do not. Federal fraud is subject to federal prosecution and several years of incarceration in a federal prison.
Consult with a Miami Civil Litigation Lawyer
If either civil or criminal fraud charges have been brought against you, do not wait to see what punishment your particular crime accrued. The courts often use their discretion when sentencing an individual found guilty of fraud, so there is no telling what your future may hold. To avoid the worst possible punishment, and to possibly clear your name of the charges, contact the civil litigation lawyers at The Baez Law Firm right away. Call 800-588-BAEZ to schedule a free consultation today.