What is Fraud
F.S. section 817 covers fraud in the State of Florida. It does not have one specific statute on point. The section is titled False Pretense And Fraud. Florida basically defines fraud as intentionally obtaining an unauthorized benefit by act or omission through deception, misrepresentation, or other unethical means. Fraud is a specific intent crime, which means that a person has to intend to commit the crime. For example if you lie about your income on a bank loan application it could be considered fraud, because you received the benefit of a loan through by lying.
Prosecuting Fraud Cases
Fraud cases can sometimes be difficult to prosecute, because the prosecution must show that the defendants acts were intentional. It is not enough to show that the defendant received some kind of benefit through inaccurate information. Also if the defendant lied to someone without know they would receive something in return, they did not commit fraud, because they did not intent to receive a benefit.
Penalties for Fraud
The penalty for fraud can vary depending on the kind of fraud, the number of times fraud was committed, and the amount of money involved in the fraud. Interestingly fraud often times carries a harsher punishment for defrauding someone out of something then it would if someone stole the same thing. For example stealing between $100 – $300 is a 1st degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, however if you use fraudulently use a credit to defraud someone of the same amount it is a 3rd degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 5 years in prison.