Economic Crimes

Economic crimes usually involve illegally obtaining money or property through deception. Otherwise known as “financial crimes” or white collar crimes,” economic crimes cover a wide variety of offenses. With the development of online transactions and identity thieves, economic crimes are on the rise.

An economic crime can be complex to defend. Normally these charges take on complicated financial issues and can be difficult to navigate. It is important that you have trusted legal representation that is experienced in defending those accused of economic crimes in Florida.

Fort Pierce Attorneys for White Collar Crimes in Florida

Are you currently being investigated for embezzlement, scheme to defraud, identity theft, or another kind of economic offense? A skilled criminal defense attorney can meet with your investigators early, and advocate for your rights.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell have over 20 years of collective experience handling financial crimes in Florida’s criminal courts. We are well versed in Florida’s laws surrounding economic crimes. With extraordinary effort, we obtain extraordinary results.

Meltzer & Bell practices law throughout the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida including Stuart, Jupiter Island, Fort Pierce, and Port St. Lucie.

Dial today at (772) 291-2534, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation for your case today.

Overview for Economic Crimes in Florida


Types of Financial Crimes in St. Lucie County, Florida

Economic crimes are an umbrella term for different offenses that are related to financial institutions. The following are some offenses that can be considered an economic crime under Florida law.

  • Forgery – According to Florida Statute § 831.01, it is illegal for a person to falsely make, alter, or forge an official public record, document, or payment instrument, with intent to defraud.
  • Forgery of a Credit Card – Florida Statute § 817.60(6) states that it is unlawful for a person to intentionally falsely make, emboss, or alter in any manner a credit card or utters such a credit card or who, with the intent to defraud. It is also unlawful to have or use a counterfeit credit card or any invoice, voucher, sales draft, or other representation or manifestation of a counterfeit credit card in his or her possession or control.
  • Forged or Fake Driver’s License / Identification – According to § 322.212, it is unlawful for anyone to knowingly possess or display any blank, forged, counterfeit, stolen, fictitious, or unlawfully issued driver’s license or identification card or any instrument resembling or representing a driver’s license or identification card.
  • Making or Possession Material to Make a Driver’s License – Florida Statute § 831.29, it is an illegal offense to make or have materials or instruments intending to make counterfeit driver’s license or identification cards.
  • Insurance Fraud – Florida Statute § 817.234 states it is illegal to submit false, incomplete, or misleading information to any insurer with the intent to injure, defraud, or deceive the company. Insurance fraud can include any type of insurance including health insurance, life insurance, property insurance, and auto insurance.
  • Embezzlement – According to Florida Statute § 812.081, any person who was entrusted by an person or entity with property, that uses that trust to misappropriate or convert property or money, commits embezzlement. Embezzlement crimes are treated similarly to theft offenses. The higher the value of the property that was embezzled, the higher the penalties are.
  • Counterfeit Payment Instruments – Under Florida Statute § 831.28, it is considered unlawful for any person to have counterfeit payment instruments or to counterfeit a payment instrument with the intent to defraud a financial institution, account holder, any person or organization. This includes counterfeit bills, deeds, forged checks, traveler’s checks, and credit or debit cards.
  • Check Fraud – Florida Statute § 832.05 states it is illegal to use checks that are stolen, altered, forged, counterfeit, written on a closed account, or on an account that has stopped payments.
  • Elderly Exploitation – Florida Statute § 825.103, it is unlawful to knowingly, through deception or intimidation, obtain or use, or endeavor to obtain or use an elderly person’s funds or assets with intent to temporarily or permanently deprive that person of his or her assets. This includes any one who is in a position of trust, has a business relationship with the elderly person, or exploits the elderly person who lacks capacity to consent.
  • Fraudulent Use of Credit Card – Florida Statute § 817.61 states it is illegal to use credit cards, ATM cards, or their account numbers that are stolen, altered, forged, or obtained through fraud. If the act results in theft of money, merchandise, or services it is considered fraudulent use.
  • Advance Fee Scheme– Under Florida Law § 817.034, it is illegal to deceive a victim into parting with their finances by convincing them that they will receive a substantial financial benefit in return for providing some modest payment made in advance.

Florida Penalties for Financial Crimes in St. Lucie County

Since economic crimes cover numerous criminal offenses, the penalties vary. If convicted, the legal consequences will depend on the grading of the offense. An offense is graded on the ability of the prosecutor to prove fraudulent action.

The following are the various penalties you may face depending on the offense.

  • Second Degree Misdemeanor
    • Up to 60 days in jail; and
    • Possible fine of up to $500.
  • First Degree Misdemeanor
    • Up to 12 months in jail; and
    • Possible fine of up to $1,000.
  • Third Degree Felony
    • Up to five years in prison; and
    • Possible fine of up to $5,000.
  • Second Degree Felony
    • Up to 15 years in prison; and
    • Possible fine of up to $10,000.
  • First Degree Felony
    • Up to 30 years in prison; and
    • Possible fine of up to $10,000.

Additional Resources

Identity Theft & Fraud – Visit the official website for the St. Lucie County Sheriff, Ken J. Mascara. Find more information about economic crimes through a citizen’s guide of identity and fraud laws in Florida. Learn more regarding financial crimes through examples of fraud and identity theft. Gain access to useful resources if you are a victim of identity theft or fraud.

Florida Fraudulent Laws – Visit the official website for Florida’s legislation. Learn more surrounding Florida’s Communication Fraud Act. Find more information regarding fraud and other related offenses, the specifics of the charges, and the penalties that wait upon conviction.


Lawyer for Economic Crimes in St. Lucie County, Florida

If you or someone you know has been charged with an economic crime in Florida, it is highly recommended that you obtain the assistance of an attorney. Hiring an attorney can greatly increase the chances of your sentence being reduced or case being dismissed.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell have a passion for criminal defense. Our goal is to work tirelessly to preserve your rights and future. We will exhaust all possible resources to uncover all your legal options. Additionally, the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell have over 20 years of collective experience. We understand the ins and outs of Florida’s current legislation surrounding white-collar offenses.

Meltzer & Bell represents those accused of financial crimes throughout Martin County and St. Lucie County including For Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Ocean Breeze, and Jupiter Island.

Have some peace of mind today. Call the attorneys at (772) 291-2534 today.


This article was last updated on September 5, 2018

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