The term “organized fraud” is ascribed to any activity that is consistent with intentional concealment or misrepresentation of information in order to mislead or deceive. In all ramifications, this is a very serious crime with stringent penalties for a convicted individual.
Prosecution and Penalties
- Fraud that involves the use of phone or the internet, aptly referred to as “wire fraud”
- Fraud that involves the use of conventional mailing services, aptly referred to as “mail fraud”
It should be known that the US Secret Service has jurisdiction over all organized fraud classified as mail fraud.
Under federal law, penalties for organized fraud include:
- Prison sentence: Maximum of 30 (thirty) years in prison
- Fines: Maximum of $1 million if the crime affected a financial institution
Penalties of Fraud in Florida
Under Florida state law, penalties for organized fraud include:
- Prison sentence: Maximum of life in prison
- Fines: Maximum of $15,000—the maximum fine is doled out if the convicted individual, by virtue of the crime convicted for, illegally acquired property worth more than $15,000
- Restitution: The court may award victim(s) financial restitution for losses sustained if sought by the victim in the court
Restitution is different from the fine levied on a convicted individual. If awarded by the court, the convicted individual would have to forego as much possessions as is necessary to afford the financial restitution awarded to the victim(s).
Proof required of the prosecution to make a case for organized fraud include:
- That the defendant engaged in a scheme with intent to defraud
- That through the scheme the defendant obtained property fraudulently
In addition to convicting an individual for committing organized fraud, the prosecution must prove either of the following:
- That the estimated value of property fraudulently obtained by virtue of the crime was less than $20,000
- That the estimated value of property fraudulently obtained by virtue of the crime was between $20,000 and $50,000
- That the estimated value of property fraudulently obtained by virtue of the crime was $50,000 or more
“Scheme to Defraud” refers to a conduct of a systematic nature whose intent is to defraud on or more persons, to fraudulently obtain property from one or more persons erstwhile defrauded under the cloak of fabricated and fraudulent representations, promises, pretenses or willful misrepresentation of an act that is yet to happen.
“Obtain” refers to the process or act of depriving a person of his/her legal right to a property or benefit, either temporarily or permanently; or to appropriate property belonging to another for one’s own use or for use by another person not legally entitled thereto.
“Property” may be assigned to anything of value. Such items include:
- Real property, including items affixed to, growing on, or found on land
- Personal property, either of tangible or intangible nature; including privileges, claims, rights, and interests
“Value” refers to the monetary assessment of a property ascertained based on any of the following:
- The market value of a property at the time and place where the offense was committed
- If for any reason the first basis is impractical to ascertain the value of a property, the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable period after the offense is used to determine value
In cases where the exact value cannot be ascertained, then attempt must be made to determine the minimum value. If for any reason, there is difficulty in determining the minimum value, then it must be ascertained if the value is less than $20,000.
Broward Criminal Lawyer
Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Kenneth Padowitz Has Aggressively Defended Organized Fraud Charges in South Florida
As schemes to defraud using communications technology have rose in recent years, Florida has enacted harsher laws to prevent the use of communication technology in furtherance of these crimes, based on the precedent set by federal law. The Florida Legislature passed the Florida Communications Fraud Act to prevent the use of technology to further schemes to defraud others and to permit prosecution of these crimes. Fraud is a felony offense in Florida and may be penalized under State law as well as federal statutes for mail or wire fraud. Penalties under federal law include up to thirty years imprisonment and/or fines up to $1,0000,000 for a conviction of mail or wire fraud where a financial institution was targeted or affected by the scheme to defraud. Further, penalties under Florida law include up to thirty years imprisonment and/or fines up to $15,000. In addition to fines and imprisonment, offenders may have to pay restitution to the victims of these crimes.
Kenneth Padowitz is an experienced Broward criminal defense attorney who aggressively defends those facing federal prosecution. If you have been charged with any type of fraud, or believe you may be charged sometime in the near future, call Broward’s leading Federal criminal lawyer, Kenneth Padowitz, to discuss your situation. Kenneth Padowitz is an experienced trial lawyer with trial-proven results from cases across the United States. Don’t let this accusation of fraud rob you of your freedom. Call Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. today to discuss this important matter.