When a client or entity accuses a company of fraud, careful defense will help preserve the company’s reputation. The court will only find fraud allegations valid when the prosecution can prove certain circumstances.
Review the required documentation and possible legal defenses that apply to fraud accusations in Florida.
Types of fraud in Florida
Florida law recognizes the following types of business actions as fraud:
- Purposely misrepresenting goods or services to obtain money or something of value from someone else
- Using an automatic teller or credit card machine to access someone else’s funds or personal information
- Committing fraud using an electronic communications device, including a computer or smartphone (wire fraud)
- Misappropriating business assets for personal use
- Falsifying tax, financial or legal documents
Elements of fraud
To successfully try a fraud case, the prosecutor must prove that:
- The defendant made false statements or deception.
- He or she knew that the statements were false or the actions were deceptive.
- These actions or statements caused financial injury to one or more individuals.
- The injured individuals had reason to trust the defendant.
- The defendant intended to trick the injured individuals for financial gain.
Penalties for fraud
The legal consequences of business fraud vary dramatically depending on the type and scope of fraud. First-time fraud offenses with a value of less than $50,000 typically receive third-degree felony charges in Florida. A conviction for a business owner or responsible party can result in up to five years in prison as well as fines.
A business accused of fraud can present evidence to prove the absence of one or more critical fraud elements.