Banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions do not like it when they even get the hint that a customer or other person has cheated them. For one, fraud hurts their bottom line.
Financial institutions devote a lot of time and resources to investigating suspected fraud. They also frequently work closely with authorities, including Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, to bring alleged fraudsters to justice.
Ultimately, state or federal investigators may choose to file criminal charges against someone whom a business believes engaged in fraud.
These charges can include serious consequences such as significant prison time, hefty fines and restitution orders that, in some cases, and accused could well spend the rest of their lives repaying. Many if not most of these charges are felonies.
Sometimes, businesses and the investigators with whom they work closely are right. Too often, though, they simply miss the mark when accusing someone of fraud:
- Some fraud allegations are either greatly exaggerated or even made up. Take, for example, the case of a disgruntled employee who falsely accuses their former boss of fraud.
- There’s almost always a question of intent when it comes to fraud charges. Mistakes and misunderstandings, and even carelessness, are simply not enough to support a criminal conviction.
- As with any criminal case, prosecutors will have to prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt and do so following all legal principles and procedures.
- Even if an accused person made a mistake, sometimes prosecutors are pressing charges or calling for punishments that are excessive and do not fit the crime.
Floridians who are targeted in criminal fraud cases should take action
Many times, Floridians who could face fraud charges or related accusations will have some idea that authorities are investigating them. Many agencies, for example, will send a so-called target letter to a suspect to inform them of the investigation.
Early on in an investigation, someone who is being accused should make sure that they protect their legal rights and also start exploring the best course of action for avoiding the most serious penalties.