We’ve all seen headlines over the years, largely publicized white collar criminal fraud cases, most involving millions of dollars and multiple victims. The cases we see in the news and on our social media feeds can seem dramatic, the same way these types of cases are perpetuated on tv and in movies.

With the exception of the recent wave of PPP Loan and CARES Act fraud cases in the media spotlight, Fraud cases are extremely boring, and most, if not all of these cases both in civil and criminal proceedings rely heavily on physical evidence.

In Florida, identity theft, racketeering, and Ponzi schemes are the most common types of fraud committed.

If you or someone you know is being accused of fraud,  you should contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in this area of law as soon as possible to fight for your rights and reputation.

What Happens in a Fraud Case?

The outcome of this question relies heavily on the type of fraud, Criminal or Civil.

In a Criminal Fraud Case, When an individual is charged, the case is brought by local, state, or federal prosecutors who must establish that the person meant to perpetuate the falsification and collect from it.

These cases can be sought even if the alleged fraud was unsuccessful, and no one was financially injured, or profited from the offense.

In a Civil Fraud Case, the procedures and rules are different, civil fraud cases are brought to court by an individual who alleges that they have been deceived,

The victim in a civil case must establish that the defendant substantially faked the fact, or, that the fact was fabricated. The victim must establish that the individual being accused was aware of it being manufactured, that they did so intend to cause the victim to act on the falsification and that the victim behaved rationally in accepting the falsification as true.

As well as the elements above, the victim must also prove that because of this fraud scheme, they underwent damage because of the falsification.

In short, there must be damages in a civil fraud case, however, in a criminal case, charges can be brought against someone even if they didn’t actually profit from the alleged offense. 

To convict someone of fraud in Florida, the prosecution must establish that the individual’s actions consisted of the following elements:

  • Knowing that his or her statement was false.
  • A fabricated statement of material fact.
  • A harm to somebody as a result.
  • Reasonable certainty by the victim on the statement that the individual made.
  • Intent on the part of the defendant to trick the victim.

How Do I Defend Myself Against Fraud Charges in Florida?

In Florida, different legal defenses can be maintained in court against a conviction:

  • Double Jeopardy: Most fraud cases involve different degrees of the same crime. An individual who is indicted for multiple theft and fraud offenses can only be convicted once. It can be maintained that the extra charges or fines would be double jeopardy and should be dismissed.
  • The Intention to Defraud: People who are indicted for fraud must have shown that their intention for their actions was to defraud another individual truly. This is a typical argument encompassing investment cases where victims lose all their money. It can be maintained that the defendant was fascinated by aiding those involved, but it did not go smoothly.
  • Multiple Thefts: If an individual is convicted of perpetrating numerous thefts over a period, it can be maintained that he or she did not commit fraud unless it can be proven that some deception was perpetrated throughout or following the act. For instance, there is no evidence that it was a case of fraud for theft if the individual did not attempt to give back items, utilize counterfeit credit cards or payment processes, or he or she did not change the price tags for things he or she was stealing.

Charges for Criminal Fraud in Florida 

In Florida, fraud charges bringing about a first-degree misdemeanor will lead to a one-year jail sentence. You might also be levied a maximum of $1,000.

If you commit fraud that is considered a third-degree felony, you can receive up to fifteen years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.


Whether you are charged with either criminal or civil fraud, you shouldn’t wait to see what type of judgement you will receive.

The courts frequently utilize their option when penalizing a person convicted of fraud.

It’s uncertain what the future outcome of fraud charges could be. Numerous factors determine not only the outcome of a case, but the way in which it is handled throughout the courts judicial system. 

If you or someone you know is facing criminal fraud charges and needs the services of an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Sarasota County, Manatee County and the Surrounding Area, Contact Michael Fayard, Attorney at Law at 434 S Washington Blvd Ste. 200, Sarasota, FL 34236, or schedule an appointment via phone at (941) 306-1310.

Criminal Defense Attorney Sarasota County

Can I Go to Jail for Fraud in Florida?

In Florida, fraud charges bringing about the first-degree misdemeanor will lead to a criminal record and up-to a one-year jail sentence. You might also be levied a maximum of $1,000. If you commit fraud that is considered a third-degree felony, you can receive up to fifteen years in jail, and a maximum fine of $10,000, as well as a criminal record.

Can a Civil Fraud Case turn Criminal?

Yes, The evidence in a civil fraud case can prompt a criminal investigation to be opened if it reveals that one or more of the parties involved committed a crime. 

Why is Fraud Considered a White-Collar Crime in Florida?

In Florida, fraud is considered a white-collar crime because it is typically perpetrated for monetary gain and non-violent. It is covered in Chapter 817 of the Florida Annotated Statutes. An individual can only be guilty of fraud if he or she gains control over an item or service by intentionally deceiving another party.

What is Deemed Fraud?

Fraud can range from credit card to identity theft. The following are examples of fraud:
Bank Fraud
Wire Fraud
Mail Fraud
Work-at-Home Schemes
Bankruptcy Fraud
Tax Fraud
Employment Fraud
Government Fraud
Credit Card Fraud
Organized Fraud
Healthcare Fraud
Medicare Fraud
Insurance Fraud
Computer/Internet Fraud
Securities Fraud
Identity Theft
Ponzi Schemes and Business-Related Scams
Public Assistance Fraud
SNAP Fraud