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In Florida, a scheme to defraud involves an ongoing and continuing series of acts that are intended to defraud someone by obtaining something of value by means of fraudulent or false promises, representations, or an intentional misrepresentation of a future act.
Obtaining property in the sense of scheming to defraud means to permanently or temporarily take away a person’s right to property or the benefit of that property or to use the property for one’s own use when they are not entitled to do so. Property with regard to scheming to defraud includes real property, tangible property, intangible property, and services. Tangible property includes anything that can be touched. Intangible property is any item of worth that cannot be physically touched. This includes rights, interests, and privileges.
Value with respect to scheming to defraud means the market value of the property at the time the offense occurred or if it cannot be readily determined, the cost of the replacement of the property. Finally, a scheme to defraud must involve a willful act. Willful means with intent, purpose and knowledge.
Each communication or scheming offense can be charged separately. This can have a huge impact on the amount you are required to pay for bond and your score sheet which determines your penalties and your potential sentence. Many times, goods or services are stolen repeatedly over an extended period of time. This makes things more difficult for the prosecution in determining individual occurrences but easier in finding a principal theme of fraud.
Punishment for scheming to defraud depends on the amount of the loss. If no property, money, or object of value actually exchanged hands during the scheme to defraud then the charge is punishable with regard to the amount the defendant was intending to take.
- It is a first degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine if the scheme to defraud is less than $300.
- It is a third degree felony which is punishable by up to five years in prison if you scheme to defraud $300 or more.
- It is a third degree felony which is punishable by 5 years in prison if you are convicted of scheming to defraud less than $20,000.
- It is a second degree felony which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison if you are convicted of scheming to defraud more than $20,000 but less than $50,000.
- It is a first degree felony which is punishable by 30 years in prison if you are convicted of scheming to defraud for over $50,000.
Experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you or a loved one has recently been charged for a crime related to Florida’s scheming to defraud law, it is important to speak with an experienced theft crimes attorney as soon as possible. Our Tampa defense attorney is prepared to respond immediately to your call, explain the charges and penalties you face, and discuss how we can help.
Contact Taracks & Associates for a free consultation.