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One of the most commonly prosecuted fraud crimes in Florida is called organized fraud or scheme to defraud. This offense allows the prosecutor to aggregate a series of small fraudulent acts into one larger crime. The crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on whether property was obtained through the fradulent acts, and if so, the value of that property obtained.
Florida Statute Section 817.034(4)(a)1,2,3, Fla. Stat., for Organized Fraud or Scheme to Defraud requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the following elements:
If you are charged with committing an organized scheme to defraud crime, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law. Our attorneys represent clients charged with theft and financial crimes throughout Tallahassee, Leon County and the surrounding areas of northern Florida. Call our office today at (850) 681-7777 to discuss your case.
In fraud cases, the amounts of value of separate properties obtained in one scheme to defraud, whether from the same person or from several persons, is aggregated when determining the grade of the offense. Florida’s fraud statute provides that separate judgments and sentences for organized fraud under Florida Statute Section 817.034(a) and for each offense of communications fraud may be imposed when all such offenses involve the same scheme to defraud.
If the defendant is charged with organized fraud, then the aggregate value of the property obtained determines the penalties and punishments as follows:
If a person engages in a scheme to defraud and, in furtherance of that scheme, communicates with any person with intent to obtain property from that person is guilty, for each such act of communication, of communications fraud, punishable as follows:
The term “communicate” means “to transmit or transfer or to cause another to transmit or transfer signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligences of any nature in whole or in part by mail, or by wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photooptical system.”
Lesser included offenses can include grand theft or petit theft.
The Florida Communications Fraud Act was enacted as Florida Statute Section 817.034. The legislative intent recognized the proliferation of schemes to defraud in Florida, particularly those using communications technology to target a wider audience.
The statute of limitations is extended in criminal action or civil action or proceeding under the Florida Communications Fraud Act because the action may be commenced at any time within 5 years after the cause of action accrues. In a criminal proceeding under the Florida Communications Fraud Act, however, the period of limitation does not run “during any time when the defendant is continuously absent from the state or is without a reasonably ascertainable place of abode or work within the state, but in no case shall this extend the period of limitation otherwise applicable by more than 1 year.”
The value can be determined in any of the following ways:
If you have been charged with theft or organized scheme to defraud, contact an aggressive criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey Law. Call us to discuss your fraud case in Tallahassee, Leon County or the surrounding areas in North Florida. We can begin your defense today.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.
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