Financial crime (also known as white collar crime) falls under a variety of offenses in Florida which involve the element of deception for personal or corporate gain. Financial crimes can be tried in both federal and state court depending on the monetary amount involved.

Types of Economic Crimes Under Florida Law

Some common white-collar offenses in Florida include:

Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is one of the most common forms of fraud in South Florida. According to Florida Statute 817.61, it is illegal to use a credit card or debit card that has been forged, stolen, used without consent of the owner, expired, or revoked. If a stolen credit or debit card is used to obtain more than $100 in goods 3 or more times in 6 months, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. If you are under investigation for fraud relating to credit cards, our Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale credit card fraud lawyer can review your case immediately.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is another common financial crime in Florida. It is illegal to fraudulently use another person’s identity or identifying information to obtain money or property. While most identity theft crimes are a third-degree felony, you can be charged with a second or first-degree felony if you have committed identity theft involving multiple victims or to scheme large quantities of money.

Mortgage Fraud

Did you know if you provide false information to misrepresent your job, income, or assets in Florida while obtaining a mortgage, you have committed mortgage fraud? According to Florida Statute 817.545, mortgage fraud is classified as a second-degree felony if the amount of the mortgage is greater than $100,000. If you are being accused of mortgage fraud, you should not speak to any state or federal law enforcement about the allegation before speaking to an attorney for mortgage fraud crimes in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

To prove a charge of mortgage fraud pursuant to § 817.54, Fla. Stat. (2004), the State must show that the defendant (1) obtained a mortgage, mortgage note, promissory note, or other instrument evidencing a debt or obtained the signature of a person to a mortgage, mortgage note, promissory note, or other instrument evidencing a debt; (2) by color or aid of fraudulent or false representation or pretenses; (3) with intent to defraud. Grant v. State, 43 So. 3d 864 (2010). The victim's reliance on the false or misrepresented information is an essential element of the crime of mortgage fraud. Id.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud in Florida means to submit false or fraudulent information to an insurer with the intention of deceiving. Some common examples of fraudulent claims in Florida may include:

  • Staged or intentional auto accidents
  • Staged slip and fall accidents
  • False claim relating to a foreign substance in food
  • Faking a death for the purpose of collecting benefits; and more

Embezzlement

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, embezzlement is defined as the unlawful misappropriation by an offer to his/her own use or purpose of money, property, or some other thing of value entrusted to his/her care, custody, or control.

Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom such property has been entrusted, or into whose hands it has lawfully come. Houston v. City of Tampa Firefighters & Police Officer’s Pension Fund Bd. of Trs., 297 So. 3d 664 (2020). The crime of embezzlement builds on the concept of conversion, but adds two further elements. Id. First, the embezzled property must have been in the lawful possession of the defendant at the time of its appropriation. Id. Second, embezzlement requires knowledge that the appropriation is contrary to the wishes of the owner of the property. Id. In less formal language, the defendant must have taken another person's property or caused it to be taken, knowing that the other person would not have wanted that to be done. Id. Thus, embezzlement exists where a party has lawfully come into possession of property which belongs to another and then knowingly and willfully misapplies or converts that property. Id.

Consequences for Economic (White-Collar) Offenses in Florida

Conviction of financial or white-collar crime in South Florida depends on how the offense is graded meaning how much can be proven as fraudulently or illegal obtained. For most white-collar crimes, convicted individuals may be required to pay restitution to the victim(s).

Where to Find a White-Collar Crime Defense Lawyer in Palm Beach and Broward Counties?

A Palm Beach and Broward County white-collar crime attorney can provide you with defense for fraud and other white-collar economic crimes. The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky is well-equipped to handle a variety of economic crime charges ranging from credit card fraud to embezzlement. To protect your rights, contact us or call us at (561) 671-5995 so we can review your case immediately!