Across the country, federal and state authorities have been stepping up efforts to stop the growing number of fraud cases. Special task forces to identify, disrupt and prosecute fraud are becoming commonplace. Here in Florida, authorities have been aggressively prosecuting an array of fraud schemes, including mortgage fraud, healthcare fraud, identity theft, and many more. Once they become public, charges that someone committed fraud inevitably alter public opinion about that person. The best time to get experienced legal help is before charges are ever filed, so contact a Tampa fraud scheme attorney immediately.
Casting a Broad Net Often Catches Innocent Fish
Unfortunately, when police and prosecutors get aggressive in attacking fraud, there’s a real danger that they cast a net so broad that they pull in not only those actually engaged in fraud, but also people whose connection to the scheme is marginal and who never intended to defraud anyone. The simple fact is that not every person playing a part in a scheme intended to defraud was in on the fraud.
But even innocent people can have their reputations ruined by the simple fact of being arrested and named in the media. The sooner that innocent people charged with fraud get effective and experienced legal representation, the better the chance that they will be able to restore their good reputation. It matters a lot whether a person charged with fraud is voluntarily dropped from the indictment early on, well before the case goes to trial, or is ultimately found innocent at the end of a lengthy public trial.
Federal and State Laws
In many cases, a specific type of fraud is a crime under both federal and state law. You might eventually be charged under either law or both. In Florida, for example, Chapter 817 of the Florida Code addresses a multitude of “Fraudulent Practices” that range from home invasion by using a false identity to obtaining mortgages and mortgage notes by false representations to fraud in providing credit counseling services.
Intent is the Key
Fraud prosecutions almost always end up being about intent. In many cases, intent is inferred from the circumstances. That’s often a slippery, subjective idea: view the facts one way and intent is visible; view the same facts another way and intent disappears.
Prosecutors and their investigators have many, many resources they can devote to getting a court and jury to view the facts from the perspective that shows intent. It’s impossible to overstate how important it is for someone charged with fraud to make sure they have a defense attorney even more capable of getting the court and jury to view those facts from the opposite perspective.
Complex Cases Move Slowly
Fraud is, by its nature, a financial crime and modern financial transactions are incredibly complex. By the time the prosecution has untangled the events, digested them and proceeded to charge someone with fraud, an awful lot of time will have passed. Even more importantly, the prosecutors will probably have become locked in to their version of the facts by the time they file charges.
That’s why it is important to obtain an experienced Tampa fraud scheme attorney the moment you suspect that the authorities are investigating. That serves several purposes:
- It gives the defense lawyer adequate opportunity to investigate and digest the facts;
- It raises at least the possibility that the defense lawyer will be able to influence the prosecutors before they become committed to a specific theory;
- It allows the defense lawyer to work with you to ensure that you don’t unwittingly say something to the prosecutors that may sound innocuous to lay people, but helps the prosecutors build their case.
Get Legal Help Early On
If you have reason to believe that you are a target of a fraud investigation, time really is of the essence. Your reputation and your freedom are at stake. At Hanlon Law, we understand what’s at stake and work aggressively to protect both. Tampa fraud scheme attorney Will Hanlon is a Florida native who has handled criminal defense work here and around the central West Coast of Florida for more than 20 years. Call Will today. Your defense starts here.