The term “scheme to defraud” is defined as an ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud one or more persons.
When charged as an organized scheme to defraud, multiple acts become lesser included offenses, For example, if someone tricks several people into purchasing a bicycle when there is no bicycle, the offender could be charged with a scheme to defraud. An offender cannot be convicted of both an organized scheme to defraud and theft for the same conduct. A dual conviction for both organized scheme to defraud and theft for the same conduct is a double jeopardy violation.
Organized retail theft or shoplifting which amounts to grand theft, and dealing in stolen property, may become predicate acts resulting in a conspiracy to commit racketeering and racketeering charges (RICO), which is a first-degree felony punishable by life.
This offense allows prosecutors 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 the value of the property obtained.
What Proof is Required?
Florida Statute Section 817.034(4)(a)1,2,3, Organized Fraud or Scheme to Defraud, requires proof of the following elements:
- The defendant engaged in a systematic, ongoing course of conduct;
- The defendant intended to defraud one or more persons, or intended to obtain property from one or more persons; and
- The act was committed by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act.
What Are the Penalties for Organized Scheme to Defraud?
In fraud cases, the value of the separate property taken in one scheme to defraud, whether from the same person or from several persons, is added together when determining the severity of the offense. If the defendant is charged with organized fraud, then the aggregate value of the property obtained determines the penalties and punishments as follows:
- If the aggregate value of the property obtained was less than $20,000, the offense is a third-degree felony;
- If the aggregate value of the property obtained was $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, the offense is a second-degree felony; and
- If the aggregate value of the property obtained was $50,000 or more, the offense is a first-degree felony.
Should I Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you or a loved one are under investigation or have been arrested for an organized scheme to defraud, it is important that you discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about your rights and options. The laws are complex. You may need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to get a favorable resolution.
One of the biggest benefits associated with hiring a qualified lawyer is that you increase your chances of getting the relief you deserve. A skilled and experienced attorney will be able to research the facts and the law and prepare an informed defense of the charges.
Good attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to obtain the best possible outcome. You will need to hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Why? Because experience counts.
If you or a loved one find yourself in an organized scheme to defraud the situation, you or your loved one may be facing a long prison sentence. Not every attorney has the qualifications and experience to handle a scheme to defraud case. You need a qualified and experienced defense lawyer to fight for your rights.
Why Fernandez & Hernandez?
The attorneys at Fernandez and Hernandez have experience defending organized scheme to defraud charges and will work vigorously to protect your rights, and in many cases, may be able to prevent a conviction or resolve the matter without incarceration. The attorneys at Fernandez & Hernandez are bilingual and will provide a free and confidential consultation so that you can discuss your case. Our firm has represented many defendants charged with organized scheme to defraud offenses. Many of these proceedings have resulted in favorable resolutions. The criminal defense attorneys at Fernandez & Hernandez can help you understand all of your options.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for an organized scheme to defraud case in the Tampa Bay area and needs help, Fernandez & Hernandez will guide you through the process. Fernandez & Hernandez can assist you in getting the outcome you deserve. Organized scheme to defraud cases is complex. Fernandez & Hernandez may be able to help you find a solution.
Criminal defense attorney Daniel J. Fernandez has experience with organized scheme to defraud charges and will work diligently to get your situation resolved favorably. Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez can help guide you through the system and may be able to get a favorable resolution to your problem.
If you or a loved one need legal assistance with an organized scheme to defraud case call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353.