Florida has adopted a broad fraudulent practices act under Florida Statute 817 as well as other separate fraud statutes which set out more than 100 different crimes relating to fraud. These crimes range from obtaining property by false impersonation to fraudulent use of credit cards.
Over the years, Mr. Dirmann has represented clients charged with many forms of fraud including forgery, schemes to defraud, and workers’ compensation fraudFraud is a common element which appears at various times in a criminal case. For example, when consent of the other person is used as a defense but is found to have been obtained by the defendant’s fraudulent misrepresentation. When the words “fraud” or “fraudulent” are used such as in the Florida Communication Fraud Act, the essence of the crime is to obtain property from one or more persons with the intent to defraud by use of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, or willful misrepresentation of a future act.
Fraud as a crime signifies an “intent to defraud” and most of Florida’s fraud statutes require proof that the defendant had a specific intent to defraud the victim.
What are the most likely defenses to a charge of criminal fraud?
Sometimes the investigation into the case facts will disclose favorable information. In certain cases the defendant is simply representing information which he has been told is true but which is not. Hence, if the defendant believed he was being honest with his representations to others, it may be difficult to prove he had fraudulent intent even if the victims were defrauded.
In cases involving institutions such as banks and insurance companies, they often conduct their own independent investigation of the claim or case before criminal fraud is charged. Sometimes these institutions will pay claims or provide loans even though their own investigation has concluded that fraud was committed by a policyholder or bank customer. In those cases the defendants may have the defense of waiver or estoppel. These defenses address the legal principle that one cannot claim he was defrauded if he knew of the fraud before acting on it and then with that knowledge paying money or providing services to the alleged fraudulent actor. In other words, to be the victim of a fraud, a bank or insurance company must be “hoodwinked” by the fraudulent misrepresentations for there to be an actual fraud.
Over the years, Mr. Dirmann, a white collar crimes sarasota criminal defense lawyer, has represented clients charged with many forms of fraud including forgery, schemes to defraud, and workers’ compensation fraud. As a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer, Mr. Dirmann is a specialist in criminal defense and has many resources including investigators, forensic experts and financial experts to help analyze your case to find a way to defend you against a charge of dishonesty, fraud and white collar crime.
Give Mr. Dirmann a call today for a confidential no obligation conference to discuss your case including all defenses available to you.