Tampa Fraud Attorneys
Accused of Fraud? Our Tampa Defense Lawyers Are Here to Help.
If you have been charged with a fraud-related crime, talking to an attorney is one of the first steps you should take in this serious situation. There are many different types of fraud, and at Thomas & Paulk, P.A. we are experienced in representing clients in the face of all of these charges on a state or federal level.
Our firm can handle fraud cases of all kinds, including:
Accounting fraud is a white collar crime that refers to the falsifying of accounting records. Individuals commit this crime for the purpose of boosting their net income, adjusting sales figures or hiding income. This crime is done by many companies to ensure that they meet Security and Exchange Commission's earning standards.
There are some common positions that more commonly commit accounting fraud and they include:
- Company executives
The penalty for accounting fraud will depend on the type of accounting fraud committed. It can be the result of channel stuffing, which is selling at the end of the quarter whatever is necessary to meet the company's forecast. Revenue recognition is when a company recognizes revenue prior to its actual existence. Another common type of accounting fraud is when the accountant omits data with the intention of creating false statements. If books are kept open after the completion of a quarter in hopes to make up the difference, an individual can also be charged with accounting fraud.
If you have been charged with the very serious criminal offense of bank fraud, it is important to clearly understand what your charge is, the penalties you will face if convicted, and possible defense. One of two conditions must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the charge to turn into a conviction. The first is that the defendant knowingly executed a scheme with the purpose of defrauding a bank or a different financial institution. The second is that the defendant knowingly executed a scheme to obtain financial assets that is in the possession of a financial institution. There is a wide range of criminal conduct that can be prosecuted as bank fraud and multiple counts can even be considered and charged.
The types of bank fraud that our firm commonly handles include:
- Altered checks
- Credit card fraud
- Debit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Stolen check fraud
- Gift card fraud
- Fraudulent loans
One count of bank fraud can be prosecuted for each instance of bank fraud. This can be a negative circumstance for the individual charged with the crime because the penalties for just one count are severe.
An individual pursuing bankruptcy can be charged with fraud if he or she provides false information on the document. Not only may the bankruptcy petition be declined, but the debtor can be charged with severe penalties. For example, an individual charged with bankruptcy fraud can face five years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine.
Most bankruptcy fraud cases pertain to debtors who attempt to hide their assets from the liquidation process. A bankruptcy attorney can also be held responsible for filing incorrect paperwork on behalf of his or her client. If discrepancies are found on a bankruptcy petition, anyone involved can be charged for these fraudulent practices.
After a trustee believes that the debtor has hidden assets, funds or property, an investigation can take place. There are a variety of fraudulent practices that can take place, which include the transferring of real property or sums of money to children or other family members, filing multiple cases in different states and using stolen Social Security identification numbers. Whatever the cause of bankruptcy fraud, the consequences will be negative. Trying to file for bankruptcy in the future will be substantially more difficult because bankruptcy attorneys will not be very willing to represent their cases.
Credit Card Fraud
It is essential to understand what you are facing if you are being investigated for credit card fraud. This is a serious felony charge that is handled by law enforcement in an aggressive manner. There are many ways that this fraudulent practice can take place, including physically taking another's card or by accessing another's electronic data.
In addition, you can be facing this charge for the following:
- Counterfeiting or alteration of a credit card
- Making false statements as to the ownership of the card
- Using a lost or mislaid credit card
- Receiving anything as the result of credit card fraud
Credit card fraud also often includes the charge of identity theft. There are a few ways that this can take place, including through the use of forged credit cards, opening a new credit card account using another's information, stealing another's credit card data and the use of credit card data without the authorization while making online purchases.
Government fraud refers to the intentional act of taking government funds through either scams or deceit. This is a serious crime that is now often handled in criminal courts and can result in large sentences, such as heavy fines and either state or federal prison. This is a matter that used to be handled in civil courts but has become a much more serious charge. In some cases, both criminal and civil charges will be brought against the offender. The individuals that are the first to report government fraud are called whistleblowers, and they often share in the awards from the case.
There are many different ways that fraud against the government can take place. Some of the most common forms of government fraud include procurement fraud, false claims and Medicaid / Medicare fraud.
Our team is prepared to help guide you through the charges of government fraud involving:
- Failure to obtain licensing
- Failure to obtain data rights
- Fraudulent accounting
- Corruption in scandals
- Defective pricing
- Filing false claims
There are many costly types of fraud actions that lead to the government getting swindled. When this takes place, taxpayers end up paying the price. The Federal False Claims Act makes it against the law to present a false claim for the purpose of defrauding the government. This act imposes liability to those who knowingly present the claim, but they can still be charged if they act in a reckless manner toward ensuring that the information submitted is true.
Healthcare providers have recently become a large target of government scrutiny. Healthcare fraud is becoming a large issue and those who are convicted face heavy fines and possible jail time. With the increase in healthcare legislation, our Tampa criminal defense attorneys work with strong resolve to get criminal investigations to cease in order to prevent criminal charges from being filed. The penalties for fraudulent activity are severe no matter what your position is as a health care provider. Possible penalties include prison time, heavy fines and the loss of a medical license. If you do secure a qualified attorney to help you through your case, you risk facing heavy prosecution and penalties you may not deserve.
There is a variety of healthcare fraud that takes place throughout Florida concerning a variety of government funding programs. The overbilling for medical services is one of the most common types of healthcare fraud throughout the state.
Other forms of fraud include:
- Charging for services that were not provided
- Inflating the cost of a healthcare procedure
- Falsifying a patient's records
- Performing an unnecessary surgery / procedure
These types of healthcare fraud are typically discovered in relationship to dentists, doctors, pharmacists, and other individuals who offer health care services. Healthcare fraud also involves prescription fraud, when pharmacists who bill for prescriptions that were not actually given. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor building a case against you.
Are you facing insurance fraud or other charges in conjunction with “Operation No Pain No Gain”? Hillsborough County deputies announced in 2011 that more than 50 arrest warrants were issued in conjunction with a 5-month investigation into insurance fraud committed by staging crashes. Search warrants were also served at 4 different medical clinics. “Operation No Pain No Gain”, conducted with the involvement of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsborough County Office of the State Attorney Department, The National Insurance Crime Bureau and Florida Department of Financial Services, concluded with the issuance of 53 arrest warrants and search warrants for 4 medical clinics in the Hillsborough County area.
Suspects include those accused of actually staging the accidents as well as those running or working at clinics where insurance scams are allegedly being run. Criminal charges resulting from the investigation range from Filing False and Fraudulent Insurance Claims, to Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering Influence Corrupt Organization (RICO).
According to statistics compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, fraudulent insurance claims throughout Florida increased 119% from 2008 through 2010. In Tampa, they rose an astonishing 491%, making the city the nation’s epicenter for staged auto accidents. This investigation may signify the first of many efforts by law enforcement and prosecutors alike to crack down on insurance fraud violations. At the law firm of Thomas & Paulk, we are therefore increasing our focus on offering experienced criminal defense counsel for those arrested for or accused of insurance fraud.
Investment fraud is viewed by the government as a scheme that induces a victim to invest money in an asset that does not exist or is not what it was proposed to be. Stockbrokers and other professional individuals who handle investments and large sums of money face the risk of being accused of investment fraud.
Acts of investment fraud involve a wide range of actions, including:
- Accounting fraud
- Mutual fund fraud
- Time share fraud
- Estate financing fraud
- Real estate fraud
- Prime bank fraud
- Shares / shareholder fraud
Many laws govern fraudulent investment. There are many penalties that punish those who break the guidelines set forth in the Securities Act of 1933, Securities Act of 1934, Investment Company Act of 1940, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Mail fraud is often charged as a federal crime in the United States District Court. What this means is that the investigators and prosecutors will be working ruthlessly to ensure that you are convicted and heavily penalized. Federal law enforcement agencies may have begun building a claim against you long before you became aware that you were under suspicion.
Mail fraud is a non-violent theft crime and is therefore considered a white collar crime. These crimes use the U.S. mail or wire services as part of a scheme to defraud other individuals. This is a difficult offense to navigate on your own without the legal defense of a Tampa criminal defense lawyer. It is important to have an attorney by your side to help ensure that you are not making false statements to the federal investigator. Any discovery of a false statement can lead to a serious criminal charge, even if you are innocent. Those who are under investigation for federal criminal offense of mail fraud are suspected of defrauding others by way of the U.S. mail, Federal Express, United Postal Service (UPS) or other private and public carriers. If the mail fraud targets a financial institution, the penalties for a conviction may be drastically increased.
To be convicted of mail fraud, the prosecution must prove that the defendant purposefully created a plan to defraud an individual through a mail carrier and displayed intent to commit the fraud. It must also be proven that the fraud was based on a misrepresentation of material. Title 18, United States Code §1341 states that it is a federal offense to use the mail to carry out a fraudulent scheme. The maximum sentence for mail fraud is 30 years in prison with a million dollar fine.
Mortgage fraud is a type of fraud that is done for the purpose of obtaining favorable monetary results through the technique of deception. It constitutes the omission of information on mortgage loan applications and the misrepresentation of the facts pertaining to a loan. Many of these cases involve suspicion that the defendant provided them false information that would help them obtain a larger loan then they are qualified for with their current economic status. In general, a mortgage fraud pertains to providing false information on loan or mortgage documents.
It is not rare that mortgage brokers and loan officers are falsely accused of mortgage fraud. If you have been accused of mortgage fraud by federal authorities, it is essential to retain the legal assistance of a Tampa mortgage fraud defense lawyer.
There are a variety of fraudulent activities that constitute mortgage fraud, including:
- Employment fraud
- Occupancy fraud
- Appraisal fraud
- Cash-back schemes
Organized fraud is fraudulent activity done by an organized group for the purpose of stealing from those who do not expect that behavior. Two common examples include phishing and spoofing. If the sender impersonates an actual company for the purpose of obtaining personal and / or financial information, this can also be charged as identity theft.
If you are found guilty for charges of organized fraud, you may be facing elevated penalties for additional charges such as wire fraud. The specific penalty that you are facing will depend on the value of money and the services or goods that were obtained from the victim. You could face up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.
The victim of the fraud may also be able to seek financial restitution, which will have to come from the defendant. For this reason, it is imperative that you secure the legal assistance of one of our attorneys. We can help you pursue freedom from false charges. You will need to seek aggressive and responsive legal assistance at once if you or a loved one is facing such charges. Organized fraud is charged under § 817.034 which is the Florida Communications Fraud Act.
According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, Florida has the highest number of laws on the books concerning prescription drugs of any state in the nation. This superabundance of legislation on the topic of prescription medication is due in large part to the role that this state has played in the nationwide explosion in prescription drug abuse.
For years, Florida was the top destination in the U.S. for "prescription tourists," drug dealers and addicts who would come to visit one of the then-unregulated pain clinics to obtain a prescription which they could use to obtain powerful painkillers such as oxycodone and Vicodin. The problem included not only the easy flow of prescription medications into other states, but also a widespread problem of abuse within Florida. For example, prescription drug abuse is the number one killer of middle aged Floridians, and oxycodone alone killed more people in 2009 than heroin, morphine and cocaine combined.
The proliferation of laws to combat prescription drug abuse has resulted in measures such as the prescription drug abuse monitoring program, a system which provides law enforcement with access to information concerning the prescription, dispensing and consumption of these drugs. The goal is to catch doctors and patients alike who exceed the boundaries of medical necessity and sell or purchase prescription drugs for non-medical and recreational use. There are two primary targets in this effort: pill mills and doctor shoppers.
The first term describes physicians, pain clinics and pharmacies that unscrupulously dispense large quantities of pain meds and other pharmaceutical drugs, usually with money being the primary concern rather than the health of the patient. Doctor shopping, in comparison, describes the activity of visiting several doctors with the same physical complaints in order to obtain multiple prescriptions for a drug.
Wire fraud is a federal crime that takes place when an individual intentionally schemes a plan to defraud individuals of property or finances. It is done using wires such as the internet, phone lines, financial wire transfers and even the telephone. Wire fraud is a serious federal crime that will be brought forward by the Department of Justice and not prosecutors. The penalties for this offense are similar to mail fraud in that the penalties are very serious.
A conviction can include a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and up to a million dollar fine. It is essential to retain the legal assistance of a Tampa criminal defense lawyer if you are under suspicion of a wire crime.
An individual can be determined guilty of wire fraud if a few factors are proven to be true beyond a reasonable doubt. The first is that the individual willingly devised a scheme to defraud or obtained money through a false pretense. The other factor that must be proven to be true is that the individual knowingly transmitted sound, by wire in interstate commerce, which had the direct purpose of defrauding. The government must prove that the individual knowingly devised the scheme to defraud. Every use of the interstate wire to further the scheme will constitute as its own offense.
Involving a Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer
Now is the time to involve a defense lawyer to handle your case. It does not matter if formal charges have not yet been filed against you, you may be in danger of facing criminal charges once you are the subject of an investigation. The only thing you can do to ensure an opportunity at a positive case result is to involve a lawyer to handle every aspect of your case.
A defendant may face legal proceedings in civil and/or criminal court involving fraud. Fraud is a criminal offense and a defendant may therefore be at risk of imprisonment, fines and other penalties if convicted in criminal court. These charges are brought against the defendant by the government. The victim(s) of fraud may also file charges against the defendant in civil court, seeking monetary compensation for their alleged losses.
As fraud may have civil and criminal repercussions, seeking legal counsel is all the more important. Make sure you waste no time in involving an attorney who can work to protect your legal rights and your interests in order to help you avoid imprisonment in state prison, fines, probation, victim restitution and much more.
Call (813) 321-7323 to schedule your consultation.
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