Whether you need criminal defense or representation for a personal injury claim, our team, lead by Chris Crawford, will fight 24/7 to guarantee that your rights are protected. These trial results should inspire confidence.
Pensacola Fraud Lawyer
Fraud is a serious offense in Florida. The state punishes any attempt to defraud, trick, or deceive others. The penalties for fraud are severe, and those convicted face time in prison, heavy fines, and a damaged reputation.
If you have been accused of fraud, you need a dedicated and skilled criminal defense lawyer. Crawford Law can help you with a thoroughly investigated and well-prepared defense strategy designed to give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. We understand the stress and uncertainty you are under and how important it is to have a representative you can trust.
Chris Crawford will in the effort and time needed to ensure that your case is properly handled. We prepare every case for trial — our firm does not engage in plea deals unless they are in your best interest.
Overview of Fraud Crimes
Fraud is defined as any intentional act of deception, misrepresentation, or concealment of facts to gain an illegal advantage or cause harm to another party. Fraud crimes can be committed against people, companies, and government agencies. These crimes can be prosecuted at both the state and federal levels.
Federal crimes involving fraud commonly entail large-scale operations that cross state lines, large groups of people, massive sums of money, and crimes committed against federal agencies, such as Medicare and Social Security fraud. They may be the subject of sophisticated investigations by federal law enforcement, such as the FBI, IRS, and others.
Common types of fraud include:
- Credit card fraud: This involves stealing or using another’s credit card without their consent.
- Check fraud: This is a type of financial fraud that occurs when a person writes a check with insufficient funds or alters checks that do not belong to them.
- Identity theft: Identity theft is committed when an individual or group steals another person’s personal identification information — such as their driver's license, Social Security number, or banking information — to commit fraud or other crimes.
- Embezzlement: This is the theft or misappropriation of funds belonging to an employer or organization by someone in a position of trust or responsibility.
- Tax fraud: This is the deliberate act of providing false or misleading information on tax returns with the intent to avoid paying taxes or to claim tax refunds fraudulently.
- Insurance fraud: Insurance fraud occurs when an individual or group intentionally provides false information or conceals relevant facts from an insurance company to obtain payouts or avoid paying premiums.
- Wire fraud: A crime that occurs when an individual or group uses electronic communications or interstate wires to fraudulently obtain money or property.
- Securities fraud: Securities fraud occurs when someone deliberately misleads investors to manipulate stock prices or obtain a profit.
- Bank fraud: This involves using false information or trickery to obtain assets, credit, or other benefits from a financial institution.
- Mortgage fraud: Mortgage fraud is the act of providing false information or misrepresenting oneself on a mortgage application to secure a loan for a property or obtain a loan modification.
- Consumer fraud: Consumer fraud involves false advertising or the misrepresentation of goods and services with the intent of obtaining payment or gaining financial advantage.
- Investment fraud: This is a type of financial fraud that involves misleading or deceiving investors to make a profit from investing in a particular scheme or product. An example of this is a Ponzi scheme.
- Healthcare fraud: This is a crime in which false, deceptive, or misleading claims are made to receive payment for healthcare services or supplies that were never provided or were unnecessary.
- Medicare fraud: Healthcare fraud specifically targets the Medicare program through the submission of false claims or billing for services that were never rendered.
- Welfare fraud: A type of fraud in which individuals or businesses falsely claim welfare benefits or assistance programs that they are not entitled to receive.
- Social Security fraud: Any act of deception or misrepresentation aimed at defrauding the Social Security Administration or taking advantage of its benefits program.
Fraud Penalties in Florida
The penalties for fraud in Florida vary greatly depending on the nature of the crime, the amount of loss incurred, and other factors. Penalties for fraud in Florida often include significant fines, restitution payments to victims, and potential imprisonment. In some cases, fines can reach up to $15,000 for each count of fraud.
Additionally, individuals convicted of fraud can face a range of future consequences, such as difficulty in securing employment, loss of professional licenses, and the social stigmatization that often comes with a criminal record. Fraud is associated with dishonesty, which means the jeopardization of important life opportunities for careers, advanced education, and more.
Potential Defenses for Fraud
While each case is unique, several potential defenses may be used in fraud cases.
Lack of Intent
One of the most common defenses in fraud cases is to argue that you did not have the intent to deceive or defraud. This can be a strong defense if you can prove that you did not knowingly or intentionally deceive anyone. For example, if you made a mistake or provided incorrect information unintentionally, this can be used as a defense against fraud charges.
Lack of Knowledge
A lack of knowledge defense means that you did not know you were engaging in fraudulent activity. This can be a viable defense if you can prove that you did not fully understand the circumstances or implications of your actions. For example, if you were misled or coerced by someone else into committing fraud, you may be able to argue that you did not know that what you were doing was illegal.
Entrapment is a defense used when someone is induced by law enforcement to commit a crime they were not predisposed to commit. In fraud cases, this may happen if a government agent or informant pressures or encourages an individual to engage in fraudulent activity. Entrapment can be challenging to prove, but it may be a viable defense in some cases.
Lack of Evidence
If the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove their case or if the evidence was obtained illegally, this defense may be used. For example, if the prosecution relies on hearsay evidence or evidence that was obtained through an illegal search, you may be able to argue that the evidence is inadmissible and have the charges against you dismissed.
Contact Crawford Law Today
If you have been accused of fraud, the time to act is now, even if you have not been arrested or charged. Our firm can provide you with protection, guidance, and support that could play a major role in getting charges dismissed, reduced, or result in other favorable outcomes. Crawford Law has been representing clients for more than a decade in both state and federal courts and works vigorously in fighting for your best interests.
Reach out to Crawford Law to schedule a confidential consultation with our Pensacola fraud attorney at (850) 220-2098 or contact us online.
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