Criminal Defense Attorney
Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer / Attorney has been researching the Statute of Limitations as applied in Florida Courts. Here is the latest case I found. The court threw out most of the charges when a violation of the time provisions under the Florida Statute of Limitations. The defendants were charged in a “downpayment assistance” program where it was alleged they tricked various lenders into making loans on residential properties located in Florida. The fraud was supposed to make lenders believe buyers had money for a down payment when they did not. The properties were purchased between February 2006 and October 2007. The grand theft charges for defrauding a financial institution were based on a false statement in violation of section 655.0322(5), Florida Statutes (2005) in mortgages obtained on the properties. The prosecutor charged the defendants with “one count of aggravated white-collar crime, in violation of section 775.0844, Florida Statutes (2005), a first-degree felony (count one), and eleven counts of defrauding a financial institution.”
A number of these offenses were linked to offenses outlined in the original criminal charges filed earlier in the case. These claims involved , Florida Statutes section 655.0322(6) (2005) that states:
Any person who knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice to defraud a financial institution, subsidiary, or service corporation, or any other entity authorized by law to extend credit, or to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, subsidiary, service corporation, or any other entity authorized by law to extend credit, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, is guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
The defendants argued that some charges were “brought beyond the three-year statute of limitations applicable to second-degree felonies.” The court ruled “[T]hese counts alleged new crimes and are barred by the statute of limitations.” “The white-collar charge was based on thirteen prior acts of defrauding a financial institution alleged to have been committed from February 1, 2006 through October 31, 2007. This makes February 1, 2010, the final cut-off date as to all predicate offenses included in the charge. The third amended information was filed on January 15, 2010, rendering one of the charges timely. The rest of the charges were thrown out.
“The fact that the individual (predicate) offenses would have been untimely if brought as independent charges does not affect the timeliness of the prosecution for aggravated white-collar crime. This is a continuing offense, based on the commission of numerous predicate acts. Because of the large number of predicate acts required to establish the offense, the Legislature obviously gave the State additional time to include prosecution for offenses which might have otherwise been untimely. The same result has been reached in the RICO context. See Cheffer v. Judge, Div. ‘S,’ 15th Judicial Cir., 614 So. 2d 632, 633 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993) (holding RICO prosecution based on predicate acts of trafficking illegal drugs not barred by statute of limitations, although predicate acts were individually barred by four-year statute of limitations, because RICO prosecution was subject to five-year limitation). Because count one was filed inside the end date of the statute of limitations, the count was timely, and the trial court erred in quashing this count of the information.”
Fraud Charges? Call Casey at 813-222-2220