FRAU3000 FRAUDULENT USE OF CREDIT CARD OVER $100

817.61, Credit Card Fraud Over $1000, Defense Attorney Tampa, FRAU3000, FRAUDULENT USE OF CREDIT CARD OVER $100,
Credit Card Fraud Over $100

Fraudulent Use of a Credit card with victim loss exceeding $100.00 is the forty-third (43rd) most frequent charge for those arrested in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida. There are over 1600 ways to get into the county jail. This is number 43.

If you have been charged with FRAU3000 FRAUDULENT USE OF CREDIT CARD OVER $100 you can call a Defense Attorney Tampa at 813-222-2220 and tell me your story.

Form Code: FRAU3000


Florida Statute: 817.61
Level: Fel (Felony)
Degree: 3rd

Description: FRAUDULENT USE OF CREDIT CARD OVER $100

 

FRAU3000 FRAUDULENT USE OF CREDIT CARD OVER $100 is often charged in Hillsborough County, Florida.

Title XLVI CRIMES
Chapter 817 FRAUDULENT PRACTICES

817.61 Fraudulent use of credit cards.

A person who, with intent to defraud the issuer or a person or organization providing money, goods, services, or anything else of value or any other person, uses, for the purpose of obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value, a credit card obtained or retained in violation of this part or a credit card which he or she knows is forged, or who obtains money, goods, services, or anything else of value by representing, without the consent of the cardholder, that he or she is the holder of a specified card or by representing that he or she is the holder of a card and such card has not in fact been issued violates this section. A person who, in any 6-month period, uses a credit card in violation of this section two or fewer times, or obtains money, goods, services, or anything else in violation of this section the value of which is less than $100, is subject to the penalties set forth in s. 817.67
(1). A person who, in any 6-month period, uses a credit card in violation of this section more than two times, or obtains money, goods, services, or anything else in violation of this section the value of which is $100 or more, is subject to the penalties set forth in s. 817.67(2).

Top 50 Ways Into Hillsborough County Jail | Tampa

Hillsborough County Jail

Top 50 Ways to End up Inside the Hillsborough County Jail

Here are some statistics from Tampa’s Hillsborough County Jail. We have collected the top 50 ways to end up in Tampa, Florida’s jail and have shared them below.

Drug and Traffic charges dominate the Top Ten. Theft charges seem to take the second group of ten. We have reviewed a number of other arrest records and it appears there are 1656 different ways to end up arrested for criminal charges and inside of  this major metropolitan jail.

Top 50 Ways Into the Hillsborough County Jail

 

 

Ranking

Charge Description

Form Code

Statute

Level

Degree

1. Driving W/License Canc Susp  Or Revoked TRAF6075 322.34.2A Misd 2nd
2. Possession Of Cocaine DRUG1101 893.13.6A Fel 3rd
3. Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia DRUG8100 893.147. Misd 1st
4. Grand Theft 3rd ($300 – $5,000) THEF2001 812.014.2C1 Fel 3rd
5. Possession Of Cannabis  Less Than 20 Grams DRUG2103 893.13.6B Misd 1st
6. Battery (Domestic Violence) BATT1002 784.03.1AB Misd 1st
7. Driving Under The Influence TRAF1012 316.193.1 Misd 2nd
8. Obstructing Or Opposing An Officer Without Vio COPS1000 843.02. Misd 1st
9. Driving While License Revoked-Habitual Offendr TRAF6078 322.34.5 Fel 3rd
10. Petit Theft ($100 Or Less) THEF1011 812.014.3A Misd 2nd
11. Possession Of Controlled Substance DRUG9101 893.13.6A Fel 3rd
12. Dealing In Stolen Property THEF5000 812.019.1 Fel 2nd
13. Uttering A Forged Instrument FORG2000 831.02. Fel 3rd
14. Battery (Touch Or Strike) BATT1000 784.03.1AB Misd 1st
15. Trespass On Prop Other Than Structure Or Conve TRES4001 810.09.1A2A Misd 1st
16. Grand Theft Motor Vehicle THEF2201 812.014.2C6 Fel 3rd
17. Contempt Of Court ADMIN007 901.11. Infractions
18. Obtain.Prop. For Worthless Ck.(Less Than $150) WOCK2000 832.05.4 Misd 1st
19. False Name To Law Enforcement Officer COPS2060 901.36.1 Misd 1st
20. Delivery Of Cocaine DRUG1200 893.13.1A Fel 2nd
21. Possession Of Open Container TPOR0064 003.40.B Municipal/Local
22. Manufacture Dist Dispense Posses Con Sub- Fed USCA0003 021.841.
23. Operating Unregistered Vehicle TRAF5015 320.02.1 Misd 2nd
24. Petit Theft 1st THEF1010 812.014.2E Misd 1st
25. No Valid Drivers License TRAF5099 322.03.1 Misd 2nd
26. Possession Of Cocaine With Intent To Sell Or D DRUG1300 893.13.1A Fel 2nd
27. Possession Of Cannabis DRUG2102 893.13.6A Fel 3rd
28. Aggravated Assault With Deadly Weapon ASSA5005 784.021.1A Fel 3rd
29. Battery On A Law Enforcement Officer BATT1010 784.03.1A Fel 3rd
30. Driving Under The Influence  Unlawful Breath A TRAF1015 316.193.1C Misd 2nd
31. Attaching Tag Not Assigned TRAF5040 320.261. Misd 2nd
32. Possession Of Cannabis With Intent To Sell Or DRUG2300 893.13.1A Fel 3rd
33. Aggravated Battery   Deadly Weapon BATT5000 784.045.1A2 Fel 2nd
34. Aggravated Battery (Deadly Weapon) BATT5000 784.045.1A2 Fel 2nd
35. False Info On Pawnbroker Form (Under $300) PAWN8010 539.001.8 Fel 3rd
36. Criminal Mischief   Less Than $200 CRMS1000 806.13.1B1 Misd 2nd
37. Obstructing Or Opposing An Officer With Violen COPS2000 843.01. Fel 3rd
38. Burglary Of An Unoccupied Conveyance BURG0022 810.02.1B4B Fel 3rd
39. Reckless Driving TRAF3030 316.192. Misd 2nd
40. Felon In Possession Firearm   Firearm  Possess GUNS0420 790.23.1 Fel 2nd
41. Obtain.Prop. For Worthless Ck (More Than $150) WOCK3000 832.05.4 Fel 3rd
42. Disorderly Conduct MISC0124 877.03. Misd 2nd
43. Fraudulent Use Of Credit Card Over $100 FRAU3000 817.61. Fel 3rd
44. Robbery (Less Than $300) ROBB3000 812.13.12C Fel 2nd
45. Aggravated Battery Great Bodily Harm BATT5050 784.045.1A1 Fel 2nd
46. Criminal Mischief    $200 To $1000 CRMS2000 806.13.1B2 Misd 1st
47. Worthless Check WOCK1000 832.05.2 Misd 1st
48. Forgery FORG1000 831.01. Fel 3rd
49. Criminal Mischief   $1000 Or More CRMS3000 806.13.1B3 Fel 3rd
50. Carrying Concealed Firearm WEAP1000 790.01.2 Fel 3rd

 

Over 100 Ways to Go to Jail for Fraud in Florida

There are Over 100 Ways to Go to Jail for Fraud in Florida county criminal or circuit criminal courts. Florida Fraud Criminal Charge List | Tampa | Hillsborough County

There are Over 100 Ways to Go to Jail for Fraud in Florida county criminal or circuit criminal courts. There are 112 to be exact. The penalties range from county jail to prison – from misdemeanors to felonies. 

100 Ways to Go to
Jail for Fraud in Florida

 

Fraud charges in the Tampa Bay area include Fraudulent Use Of Personal Information, Cheating, Obtaining Prescription Drugs By Fraud, Securities Fraud, Computer Fraud, Credit Card Fraud, and Money Laundering.

Some of these crimes can be resolved without a conviction for those who have no prior criminal record. Most fraud crimes can avoid a minimum mandatory jail or Florida State Prison sentence. Below is a list of the fraud crimes compiled by a fraud defense attorney and the charges in this list are used in many Florida counties, including Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.

Florida Fraud Criminal Charge List | Tampa | Hillsborough County

 
Form Code
Statute
Level
Degree
Charge Description
Frau0010
817.29.
Fel
3rd
Cheating
Frau0011
817.32.
Misd
2nd
Fraudulent Operation Of Coin Operated Device
Frau1001
414.39.1ab
Fel
3rd
Welfare Fraud Over 200 Dollars
Frau1051
414.39.1ab
Misd
1st
Welfare Fraud Less Than 200 Dollars
Frau1077
414.39.4a
Fel
3rd
Welfare Fraud By Service Provider 200 Dollars
Frau1101
414.39.2
Fel
3rd
Food Stamp Fraud 200 Dollars Or More
Frau1155
475.42.4d
Misd
2nd
Unlawful Real Estate Commission
Frau1160
409.920.2a
Fel
3rd
Medicaid Fraud False Claim
Frau1165
409.920.2b
Fel
3rd
Medicaid Fraud Unauthorized Claim
Frau1171
817.568.2a
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Use Of Personal Information
Frau1173
817.568.2b4c
Fel
1st
Fraudulent Use Of Personal Information Over $7
Frau1173
817.568.2b4c
Fel
1st
Fraudulent Use Of Personal Information Over $7
Frau1177
817.568.8b
Fel
2nd
Fraudulent Use Of Personal Infomration Of The
Frau1178
817.568.8c
Fel
1st
Fraudulent Use Of Personal Information Of The
Frau1179
817.568.8a
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Use Of Personal Information Of The
Frau1185
817.568.7
Fel
2nd
Fraudulent Use Of Personal Information By Pare
Frau1250
382.026.3
Fel
3rd
False Or Fraudulent Use Of Vital Statistics Ce
Frau2000
443.071.1
Fel
3rd
Unemployment Compensation Fraud
Frau2017
440.105.4b1
Fel
1st
Workers Compensation Fraud False Statement To
Frau2018
440.105.4b1
Fel
2nd
Workers Compensation Fraud False Statement To
Frau2019
440.105.4b!
Fel
3rd
Workers Compensation Fraud False Statement To
Frau2022
440.105.4b2
Fel
3rd
Workers Comp Fraud False Statmnt Claim <20,000
Frau2028
440.105.4b5
Fel
3rd
Workers Comp Fraud False Ins Info <$20,000
Frau2029
440.105.4b8
Fel
1st
Workers Comp Fraud Viol Stop Work Order > $100
Frau2044
440.105.4a3
Fel
3rd
Workers Compensation Fraud  Failure To Secure
Frau2045
440.105.4a3
Fel
2nd
Workers Compensation Fraud  Failure To Secure
Frau2053
496.415.5
Fel
3rd
Solicitation Of Funds By False Statement
Frau2057
499.005.23
Misd
2nd
Obtaining Prescription Drug By Fraud
Frau2060
494.0025.3
Fel
3rd
Unlicensed Mortgage Broker
Frau2062
494.0025.4b
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Mortgage Transaction
Frau2070
517.301.
Fel
1st
Securities Fraud
Frau2072
494.0025.4a
Fel
3rd
Scheme To Defraud In Mortgage Transaction
Frau2076
496.415.2
Fel
3rd
Filing False Information With Department Of Ag
Frau3000
817.61.
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Use Of Credit Card Over $100
Frau3001
817.62.1
Fel
3rd
Credit Card Fraud By Service Provider 300 Doll
Frau3002
817.62.1
Misd
1st
Credit Card Fraud By Service Provider Less 300
Frau3003
817.61.
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Use Of Credit Card  More Than Twice
Frau3004
817.62.3a
Fel
3rd
Factoring Credit Card Transactions
Frau3005
817.61.
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Use Of Credit Card   Forgery   More
Frau3006
817.61.
Misd
1st
Fraudulent Use Of Credit Card   Forgery 
Frau3009
817.611.
Fel
2nd
Trafficking In Counterfeit Credit Cards
Frau3010
817.03.
Misd
1st
False Statement To Obtain Property On Credit
Frau3011
817.021.
Fel
3rd
Obtain Seaport Security Id Card By Fraud
Frau3015
817.061.
Misd
2nd
Misleading Solicitation Of Payments
Frau3020
817.61.
Misd
1st
Fraudulent Use Of Credit Card Less Than $100
Frau3025
817.625.2a1
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Use Of A Scanning Device Of A Payment
Frau3030
817.481.1
Fel
3rd
Unauthorized Use Of Credit Card Over 300 Dolla
Frau3040
817.481.1
Misd
2nd
Unauthorized Use Of Credit Card Under 300 Doll
Frau3050
817.481.1
Fel
3rd
Use Of False Credit Card Number Over 300 Dolla
Frau3060
817.481.1
Misd
2nd
Use Of False Credit Card Number Under 300 Doll
Frau3090
817.59.
Misd
1st
False Statement To Obtain Credit Card
Frau3095
817.631.
Fel
3rd
Credit Card Making Equipment
Frau3997
817.2341.A11c
Fel
1st
Fraudulent Insurance Claim  $100,000 Or More
Frau3998
817.2341.A11b
Fel
2nd
Fraudulent Insurance Claim  $20,000 Or More, B
Frau3999
817.2341.A11a
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Insurance Claim  Less Than $20,000
Frau4000
817.234.1a
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Insurance Claim
Frau4004
817.234.1a3
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Insurance Application
Frau4005
817.51.
Misd
2nd
Obtaining Retail Products With Intent To Defraud
Frau4007
817.234.8b
Fel
3rd
Soliciting Motor Vehicle Tort Claims Within 60
Frau4010
817.705.3
Fel
3rd
Credit Service Organization Fraud
Frau4015
817.234.9
Fel
2nd
Participation In Staged Motor Vehicle Crash
Frau4020
817.236.
Fel
3rd
False Motor Vehicle Insurance Application
Frau4030
817.2361.
Fel
3rd
False Or Fraudulent Proof Of Motor Vehicle Ins
Frau4060
817.037.
Misd
2nd
Fraudulent Refunds
Frau5000
713.58.
Misd
2nd
Removal Of Property Under Lien
Frau5001
713.76.3
Misd
1st
Failure To Return Property Under Lien
Frau5050
818.01.
Misd
1st
Disposing Of Property Under Lien
Frau5150
494.093.3b
Fel
3rd
Mortgage Brokerage Fraud
Frau5160
817.54.
Fel
3rd
Obtain Mortgage   Note By False Representation
Frau5204
713.345.1ab2
Fel
2nd
Misapplication Of Construction Funds  More Tha
Frau5415
501.623.3
Fel
3rd
Telemarketing Without A License
Frau5505
817.482.2
Fel
3rd
Poss Of Device To Dup Telecommunication Sounds
Frau6000
687.071.3
Fel
3rd
Criminal Usury   Loan Sharking
Frau6050
687.141.1
Fel
3rd
Assess  Collect Advance Fee From Borrower
Frau7000
817.034.4a1
Fel
1st
Organized Fraud  Over 50000 Dollars
Frau7050
817.034.4a2
Fel
2nd
Organized Fraud 20000 To 50000 Dollars
Frau7100
817.034.4a3
Fel
3rd
Organized Fraud Less Than 20000
Frau7150
817.034.4b1
Fel
3rd
Communications Fraud Over 300 Dollars
Frau7200
817.034.4b2
Misd
1st
Communications Fraud Under 300 Dollars
Frau7300
817.15.
Fel
3rd
Making False Entry On Corporate Books
Frau7600
655.0322.3a
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Receipt Of Property
Frau7601
655.0322.3b
Fel
3rd
Misappropriation Of Bank Funds
Frau7602
655.0322.3c
Fel
3rd
Unauthorized Actions
Frau7606
655.0322.5
Fel
2nd
False Statement   Credit
Frau7607
655.0322.6
Fel
2nd
Scheme To Defraud Financial Institution
Frau7610
658.78.
Fel
3rd
Bank Fraud
Frau7620
817.03.
Misd
1st
False Statement   Audit
Frau7630
817.05.
Misd
1st
False Statement To Merchants As To Financial
Frau7640
817.16.
Fel
3rd
False Reports   Financial Institutiion
Frau7650
934.43.1
Fel
3rd
Criminal Disclosure
Frau7656
817.505.1a 4
Fel
3rd
Patient Brokering Induce Referral Of Patients
Frau8050
117.105.
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Notarization
Frau9000
517.301.
Fel
3rd
Fraudulent Securities Transactions
Frau9050
501.055.
Misd
1st
Home Solicitation Without Permit
Frau9051
501.055.
Misd
1st
Home Solicitation With Invalid Permit
Frau9052
501.055.
Misd
1st
False Application For Home Solicitation Permit
Frau9054
501.031.
Misd
1st
Home Solicitation Without Written Agreement
Frau9060
421.101.
Misd
2nd
False Statements To Obtain Lower Rent
Frau9072
817.645.
Misd
1st
Alteration Of Credit Card Invoice
Frau9091
212.14.3
Misd
1st
Failure To File Sales Tax Return
Frau9092
212.13.2
Misd
1st
Failure To Maintain Tangible Personal Prop Rpt
Frau9093
817.5615.2b
Misd
1st
Possessing Optical Disc With Altered Identific
Frau9094
210.18.6b
Fel
3rd
Possess Unstamped Cigarettes
Frau9095
210.18.1
Misd
1st
Sale Of Untaxed Cigarettes
Frau9097
896.101.2a
Fel
2nd
Unlawful Financial Transaction
Frau9100
896.104.4a1
Fel
3rd
Structuring Transactions To Evade Reporting Or
Frau9105
896.104.4a2
Fel
2nd
Structuring Transactions To Evade Reporting Or
Frau9109
896.101.3b15
Fel
1st
Transport Funds To Promote Unlawful Activity
Frau9110
896.1013.5c
Fel
1st
Money Laundering   $100000 Or More
Frau9111
896.101.35b
Fel
2nd
Money Laundering   $20 000 – $100 000
Frau9112
896.101.35a
Fel
3rd
Money Laundering $300 To $20000

 

Attorney Online Reviews and Internet Libel in Florida

Online Reviews Internet Libel

Punitive damages of $350,000

A Florida lawyer has won an appeal in a case involving internet libel and online reviews of the attorney. The case involves divorce and allegations made in reviews that are quoted in the complete opinion of the The Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, Florida.The online reviews “contained allegations that [lawyer] lied to [client] regarding the attorney’s fee. Two of the reviews contained the allegation that [lawyer] falsified a contract. These are factual allegations, and the evidence showed they were false. ” The court entered judgment in favor of [attorney] and awarded punitive damages of $350,000.”

Excerpt from Internet Libel Case With Punitive Damages of $350,000

 

 

“Both … admitted to posting the reviews on various internet sites. The evidence showed that … had agreed to pay her attorney the amount reflected on the written retainer agreement—$300 an hour . . . . [B]oth admitted at trial that [attorney] had not charged . . . four times more than what was quoted in the agreement. The court entered judgment in favor of [attorney] and awarded punitive damages of $350,000.”

Complete Opinion of the Court in Attorney Online Review and Internet Libel Case in Florida

 

 

DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
FOURTH DISTRICT

COPIA BLAKE and PETER BIRZON,
Appellants,

v.

ANN-MARIE GIUSTIBELLI, P.A., and ANN-MARIE GIUSTIBELLI, individually,
Appellees.

No. 4D14-3231

[January 6, 2016]

Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Michael L. Gates, Judge; L.T. Case No. 12-22244 (12).

Copia Blake, Kansas City, MO, and Peter Birzon, Weston, pro se.

Ann-Marie Giustibelli, Plantation, for appellees.

CIKLIN, C.J.

After a non-jury trial, the trial court awarded the appellee, attorney Ann-Marie Giustibelli, damages in this libel and breach of contract case. In their initial brief on appeal, the appellants, Copia Blake and Peter Birzon, raised five issues. After briefs were filed and the court spent considerable time entertaining the issues raised, Birzon filed a notice that he and the appellee had settled the matter and that he was withdrawing his appeal. Blake did not join in the notice. We note that even if she had, we would not have dismissed the appeal. One issue Blake and Birzon raised involves the application of free speech protections to reviews of professional services posted on the internet. We affirm in all respects, but this issue merits discussion as it presents a scenario that will likely recur, and the public will benefit from an opinion on the matter. See Caiazzo v. Am. Royal Arts Corp., 73 So. 3d 245, 248-49 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) (recognizing that appellate court has discretion to retain jurisdiction over an appeal after it has been voluntarily dismissed, particularly where “the case presents a question of public importance and substantial judicial labor has been expended” (quoting State v. Schopp, 653 So. 2d 1016, 1018 (Fla. 1995))).

Attorney Giustibelli represented Copia Blake in a dissolution of marriage proceeding brought against Peter Birzon. After a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship between Giustibelli and her client, Blake and oddly, Birzon as well, took to the internet to post defamatory reviews of Giustibelli. In response, Giustibelli brought suit, pleading a count for libel. She also brought counts for breach of contract and for attorney’s fees, alleging that Blake still owed her money related to the divorce representation.

Blake’s and Birzon’s posted internet reviews contained the following statements:

This lawyer represented me in my divorce. She was combative and explosive and took my divorce to a level of anger which caused major suffering of my minor children. She insisted I was an emotionally abused wife who couldn’t make rational decisions which caused my case to drag on in the system for a year and a half so her FEES would continue to multiply!! She misrepresented her fees with regards to the contract I initially signed. The contract she submitted to the courts for her fees were 4 times her original quote and pages of the original had been exchanged to support her claims, only the signature page was the same. Shame on me that I did not have an original copy, but like an idiot . . . I trusted my lawyer. Don’t mistake sincerity for honesty because I assure you, that in this attorney’s case, they are NOT the same thing. She absolutely perpetuates the horrible image of attorneys who are only out for the money and themselves. Although I know this isn’t the case and there are some very good honest lawyers out there, Mrs. Giustibelli is simply not one of the “good ones[.]” Horrible horrible experience. Use anyone else, it would have to be a better result.

**********

No integrity. Will say one thing and do another. Her fees outweigh the truth. Altered her charges to 4 times the original quote with no explanation. Do not use her. Don’t mistake sincerity for honesty. In her case, they’re not at all the same. Will literally lie to your face if it means more money for her. Get someone else. . . . Anyone else would do a superior effort for you.

**********

I accepted an initial VERY fair offer from my ex. Mrs. Giustibelli convinced me to “crush” him and that I could have permanent etc. Spent over a year (and 4 times her original estimate) to arrive at the same place we started at. Caused unnecessary chaos and fear with my kids, convinced me that my ex cheated (which he didn’t), that he was hiding money (which he wasn’t), and was mad at ME when I realized her fee circus had gone on long enough and finally said “stop[.]” Altered her fee structures, actually replaced original documents with others to support her charges and generally gave the kind of poor service you only hear about. I’m not a disgruntled ex-wife. I’m just the foolish person who believes that a person’s word should be backed by integrity. Not even remotely true in this case. I’ve had 2 prior attorneys and never ever have I seen ego and monies be so blatantly out of control.

Both Blake and Birzon admitted to posting the reviews on various internet sites. The evidence showed that Blake had agreed to pay her attorney the amount reflected on the written retainer agreement—$300 an hour. Blake and Birzon both admitted at trial that Giustibelli had not charged Blake four times more than what was quoted in the agreement. The court entered judgment in favor of Giustibelli and awarded punitive damages of $350,000.

On appeal, Blake and Birzon argue that their internet reviews constituted statements of opinion and thus were protected by the First Amendment and not actionable as defamation. We disagree. “[A]n action for libel will lie for a ‘false and unprivileged publication by letter, or otherwise, which exposes a person to distrust, hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy or which causes such person to be avoided, or which has a tendency to injure such person in [their] office, occupation, business or employment.’” LRX, Inc. v. Horizon Assoc. Joint Venture ex rel. Horizon-ANF, Inc., 842 So. 2d 881, 885 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003) (quoting Thomas v. Jacksonville Television, Inc., 699 So. 2d 800, 803 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997)).1
1 Statements of pure opinion are not actionable. Morse v. Ripken, 707 So. 2d 921, 922 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998). However, “there is no constitutional value in false statements of fact.” Id. (quoting Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 340 (1974)). If a factfinder “were to conclude that any of the [assertions of fact] in the [publication] were false, [this] would allow the [factfinder] to disregard the pure opinion defense.” LRX, 842 So. 2d at 886.

Here, all the reviews contained allegations that Giustibelli lied to Blake regarding the attorney’s fee. Two of the reviews contained the allegation that Giustibelli falsified a contract. These are factual allegations, and the evidence showed they were false.

As part of their “free speech” claim, Blake and Birzon point out that the judgment references defamation “per se.” They argue that libel per se no longer exists as a legal concept after the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Gertz, 418 U.S. 323 (1974). “[A] publication is libelous per se, or actionable per se, if, when considered alone without innuendo: (1) it charges that a person has committed an infamous crime; (2) it charges a person with having an infectious disease; (3) it tends to subject one to hatred, distrust, ridicule, contempt, or disgrace; or (4) it tends to injure one in his trade or profession.” Richard v. Gray, 62 So. 2d 597, 598 (Fla. 1953); see also Shafran v. Parrish, 787 So. 2d 177, 179 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001) (“When a statement charges a person with committing a crime, the statement is considered defamatory per se.” (citation omitted)). In Gertz, the Court held that “so long as they do not impose liability without fault, the States may define for themselves the appropriate standard of liability for a publisher or broadcaster of defamatory falsehood injurious to a private individual.” Gertz, 418 U.S. at 347. After Gertz, the Florida Supreme Court recognized that, with respect to a libel action against the media, it is no longer accurate to say that ‘“[w]ords amounting to a libel per se necessarily import damage and malice in legal contemplation, so these elements need not be pleaded or proved, as they are conclusively presumed as a matter of law.’” Mid-Fla. Television Corp. v. Boyles, 467 So. 2d 282, 283 (Fla. 1985) (quoting Layne v. Tribune Co., 146 So. 234 (1933)). Thus, after Gertz, in libel cases involving media defendants, fault and proof of damages must always be established.

Notably, the instant case does not involve a media defendant. Libel per se otherwise still exists in Florida. See Lawnwood Med. Ctr., Inc. v. Sadow, 43 So. 3d 710, 727-29 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) (containing discussion of the presumption of damages that applies in defamation per se cases); Perry v. Cosgrove, 464 So. 2d 664, 666 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985) (reversing trial court’s grant of a motion to dismiss a libel per se action brought by a former editor of a newspaper against his supervisor, who had written a letter to a reader suggesting that the editor was fired for reasons that were shameful); Owner’s Adjustment Bureau, Inc. v. Ott, 402 So. 2d 466, 470 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981) (concluding that statements in a letter amounted to libel per se as a matter of law).

As to the remaining arguments raised on appeal, we decline to
address them as they are not sufficiently briefed, not preserved, or lack merit.

Affirmed.

MAY and FORST, JJ., concur.

* * *

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

Doctors, Free Speech, and Guns in Florida – Court Rules in Docs Versus Glocks

Court Rules in Docs Versus Glocks, 790.338, Docs vs Glocks

Doctors, Free Speech, and Guns in Florida

Docs vs Glocks

After years of court battles on Doctors, Free Speech, and Guns in Florida, the Second highest court in the land has ruled in the Docs Versus Glocks case.

“The Second Amendment provides that 
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to 
the security of a free State, 
the right of the people to keep and 
bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Florida legislature passed a law limiting what doctors can discuss with patients regarding firearms. The law that limited doctors questions about guns is constitutional. The law is complex, so excerpts from the court opinion are below. The complete opinion is here:

Case Excerpts
 
Having concluded that the Case: 12-14009 Date Filed: 12/14/2015 Page: 80 of 82 81 Act does not offend either the First or the Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, we must uphold it.”
 
“[W]e hold that the District Court erred by concluding that the Act violates the First Amendment. The Act withstands strict scrutiny as a permissible restriction of speech.”

Second Amendment Gun Rights

 
“The Second Amendment provides that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” U.S. Const. amend. II. It is now undisputed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right.”
 
The State of Florida asserts four compelling interests: (1) protection of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms; (2) protection of patients’ privacy rights; (3) elimination of barriers to healthcare access; and (4) prevention of discrimination and harassment of firearm owners.”
 
When the State seeks to impose content-based restrictions on speech in a context in which its regulatory interests are diminished, such as when a professional speaks to the public in a nonprofessional capacity, courts apply the most exacting scrutiny.”
 
The inquiry provision of the Act, § 790.338(2), requires physicians to “refrain from making a written inquiry or asking questions concerning the ownership of a firearm . . . .” On its face, this provision also inhibits protected speech—inquiring about firearm ownership. It too must survive some level of First Amendment scrutiny.”

Court Rules in Docs Versus Glocks

 
To summarize, we read the Act to prohibit record-keeping about firearm ownership only when the physician knows such information to be irrelevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others; inquiry about firearm ownership only when the physician lacks a good-faith belief that the information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others; and harassment about firearm ownership only when the physician does not believe it necessary for the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.”
“Having determined that the record-keeping, inquiry, and harassment provisions are of sufficient clarity to conform to the requirements of due process, we hold that the District Court erred in holding them void for vagueness”
“The Act provides, in relevant part, that licensed healthcare practitioners and facilities (1) “may not intentionally enter” information concerning a patient’s ownership of firearms into the patient’s medical record that the practitioner knows is “not relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others,” id. § 790.338(1); (2) “shall respect a patient’s right to privacy and should refrain” from inquiring as to whether a patient or their family owns firearms, unless the practitioner or facility believes in good faith that the “information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others,” id. § 790.338(2); (3) “may not discriminate” against a patient on the basis of firearm ownership, id. § 790.338(5); and (4) “should refrain from unnecessarily harassing a patient about firearm ownership,” id. § 790.338(6).”
“[I]n a widely publicized incident that took place in Ocala, Florida, a pediatrician, during a routine visit, asked a patient’s mother whether she kept any firearms in her home. Because she felt that the question constituted an invasion of her privacy, the mother refused to answer. The pediatrician then terminated their relationship and advised the mother that she had 30 days to find a new doctor. Fla. H.R. Comm. on Health & Human Servs., H.B. 155 (2011) Staff Analysis 2 (Apr. 7, 2011); see also Fred Hiers, Family and pediatrician tangle over gun question, Ocala StarBanner, July 24, 2010, https://www.ocala.com/article/20100724/articles/7241001”
“On June 2, 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the Act into law. The Act created Fla. Stat. § 790.338, entitled “Medical privacy concerning firearms; prohibitions; penalties; exceptions,” and amended the Florida Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, Fla. Stat. § 381.026, to include several of the same provisions. The Act also amended Fla. Stat. § 456.072, entitled “Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement,” to provide for disciplinary measures for violation of the Act.”
“On June 6, 2011, four days after Governor Scott signed the Act into law, Plaintiffs filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the State in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging that the inquiry, record-keeping, discrimination, and harassment provisions of the Act facially violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs contended that the Act imposes an unconstitutional, content-based restriction on speech, is overbroad, and is unconstitutionally vague.”
“The Act seeks to protect patient privacy by restricting irrelevant inquiry and record-keeping by physicians on the sensitive issue of firearm ownership and by prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of firearm ownership. The Act does not prevent physicians from speaking with patients about firearms generally. Nor does it prohibit specific inquiry or record-keeping about a patient’s firearm-ownership status when the physician determines in good faith, based on the circumstances of that patient’s case, that such information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.”

Instagram Hacking Not a Computer Crime Says Court in Florida

Instagram Hack Computer Crime

Instagram Hack Not a Computer Crime in Florida

Is Hacking an Instagram Account always a Crime in Florida?

A guy in Florida was convicted of unauthorized computer use. the court reversed his conviction. The guy “logged into his ex-girlfriend’s Instagram account and posted nude photographs of her without her permission.”  The prosecutor claimed that constituted a violation of section 815.06(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2013).

What is Hacking a Computer Network in Florida?

 

Section 815.06 makes it illegal under Florida computer law and states “[w]hoever willfully, knowingly, and without authorization [a]ccesses or causes to be accessed any computer, computer system, or computer network . . . commits an offense against computer users.”  § 815.06(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2013).

The court reversed the conviction and focussed on three defintions in the law:

  • “Computer” means an internally programmed, automatic device that performs data processing
  • “Computer network” means any system that provides communications between one or more computer systems and its input or output devices, including, but not limited to, display terminals and printers that are connected by telecommunication facilities.
  • “Computer system” means a device or collection of devices, including support devices, one or more of which contain computer programs, electronic instructions, or input data and output data, and which perform functions, including, but not limited to, logic, arithmetic, data storage, retrieval, communication, or control. The term does not include calculators that are not programmable and that are not capable of being used in conjunction with external files. § 815.03, Fla. Stat. (2013).
The state failed to prove that Instagram was a Computer, computer system, or “computer network. The winning argument was that an Instagram account does not fall within any of these statutory definitions.

Instagram Hack Case Excerpt:

“The plain language of the statutory definitions of “computer,” “computer system,” and “computer network” refer to tangible devices, not the data and other information located on the device. Thus, to prove a violation of section 815.06(1)(a) the State must establish that the defendant accessed one of the listed tangible devices without authorization, not that the defendant accessed a program or information stored on the device without authorization. See Rodriguez v. State, 956 So. 2d 1226, 1230 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (reversing conviction under section 815.06 because evidence only established that the defendant accessed a “computer function” that he was not authorized to access).”

“Here, the charge against Appellant was based only on the unauthorized access of his ex-girlfriend’s Instagram account, not the computer server on which the account is presumably located. We say “presumably” because the only evidence in the record explaining what Instagram is was the ex-girlfriend’s testimony that it is a form of social media and “a place where you post pictures [and] your friends get to see it.” Nothing in the record establishes or explains how accessing an Instagram account works from a technological perspective, leaving unanswered whether or how Appellant’s actions amounted to accessing a specific computer, computer system, or computer network. Accordingly, in this case, the State failed to provide the necessary evidentiary foundation to prove that Appellant’s actions violated section 815.06(1)(a).”

Revenge Porn Statute Section 784.049, Florida Statutes

 

The court conclude a revenge porn prosecution under Section 784.049, Florida Statutes, that specifically prohibits the publication of sexually-explicit images of a person on the Internet without his or her consent is now a tool prosecutors can use. The court noted the new revenge porn statute was needed because “Florida law does not specifically prohibit posting pictures of a nude adult person on the Internet for viewing by other adults if the picture was taken with the knowledge and consent of the person”.

Source: Crapps v State, CASE NO. 1D14-4569 (Fla 1st DCA Dec 8, 2015).https://edca.1dca.org/DCADocs/2014/4569/144569_DC08_12082015_090851_i.pdf

 

Employees and Attorney Client Privilege

Attorney Client Privilege, Florida Criminal Defense Attorney, Tampa criminal defense attorney, White Collar,

Attorney Client Privilege

What Happens When the Boss Hires Your Lawyer?

What Happens When the Boss Hires Your Lawyer?

 

Sometimes a corporation will hire a lawyer for an employee, officer of the corporation, or a board member. Historically, the corporation or your boss might have been motivated to save the company or himself by disclosing or trying to force disclosure of information that had been shared with corporate attorneys, attorneys representing employees or officers of the corporation that may have been protected by the attorney client privilege. The feds used to have a policy that considered companies as “not cooperating” if they paid attorney fees for employees or failed to share attorney-client work product and confidences with prosecutors. Lack of cooperation can add or subtract from a sentence or penalty in the event of a conviction.
The Department of Justice DOJ has discontinued a policy that may have encouraged the company to sell out its employees. The DOJ guidelines are intended to protect a company’s attorney-client privilege, work product, and employees’ right to counsel. Therefore, assuming the information shared with the lawyer was privileged, the company will not be penalized in plea negotiations or sentencing for helping protect the rights of its officers or employees.

Can the Boss Force a Lawyer to Discuss Attorney Client Privileged Information with the Cops?

No. Your boss cannot force a lawyer to discuss Attorney Client Privileged Information with the cops. Here is a summary of the Department of Justice DOJ Policy on Attorney Client Privilege
  • Credit for cooperation will depend on the disclosure of relevant facts, not on the corporation’s waiver of attorney-client privileges;
  • A corporation’s payment of attorneys’ fees for employees is not a factor in determining cooperation;
  • A corporation’s participation in a joint defense agreement with employees does not preclude credit for cooperation;
  • Whether the corporation has sanctioned or retained culpable employees is not a factor in determining credit for cooperation;

 


Can Your Lawyer Discuss Attorney Client Information with the Cops, if You are Fired?

No. “Yet the privilege’s many nuances easily result in loss of the privilege when the attorney does not pay close attention to the details of the communication.” See Link to American Bar Business Law Review of the Attorney Client Privilege below.  Historically, it has been the DOJ’s policy to give credit to a corporation in exchange for its cooperation, but what exactly a corporation must do to earn such credit? According to Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip, the new guidelines reflect the DOJ’s “commitment to two goals: safeguarding the attorney-client privilege and preserving the DOJ’s ability to investigate corporate wrongdoing effectively.”
Important Note: The guidelines do not apply to investigations by other federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency.
 
Attorney Client Privilege, Florida Criminal Defense Attorney, Tampa criminal defense attorney, White Collar,
Target Letter
 

What Happens When the Boss gets a Target Letter?

Your boss gets a letter that begins like this. Dear Target: This letter is to advise you that you are now a target of a Federal Grand Jury investigation in this District involving your activities . . . . you can review a sample target letter here. A letter like this should be taken very seriously.

Tampa Federal Defense Attorney – Sample Target Letter
www.centrallaw.net/2009/08/tampa-federal-defense-attorney-sample.html

See also:
DOJ revises how it deals with corporate probes
Maintaining the Privilege: A Refresher on Important Aspects of the Attorney-Client Privilege

 

Veterans Court – Tampa – Hillsborough County, Florida

Veterans Treatment Court, Dismissed, Pretrial Diversion, Pretrial Intervention, Misdemeanor Intervention
Benefit of the Veterans Court is 
that upon successful completion, 
there is a court order administratively 
dismissing the charges.

History of the Veterans Treatment Court

In 2013, the Chief Judge of the Hillsborough County Court system created a new criminal subdivision of the county court to focus on people who have misdemeanor offenses. The court division was created for veterans, who suffer from military or service related conditions. The court considers the unique nature of issues related to veterans and the need for treatment in an environment that will help with wellness and the continuing necessity to help protect the public.

UPDATE: 2015 – Court Now Allows Help with Felony Crimes – Click Here

Who is Eligible for Dismissal of Criminal Charges?

The county criminal division of the Veterans Court allows people who are veterans, honorably discharged, who suffer from service-related mental illness, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, and/or psychological problems to become eligible for the benefits of this program. There are certain offenses that are eligible for admission to the court they are listed in the court order.
DUI charges are not eligible for the program. To be eligible, the defendant must be evaluated by the Veterans Administration or other state or federal court approved facility. The program is completely voluntary. Some cases are referred directly by the State Attorney’s Office to the Veterans Court, if they appear eligible.

What Happens in the Veterans Treatment Court?

Once assigned to the Veterans Court Division, there are court hearings that are required and will be set by the judge in charge of the Veterans Court. It is required that all participants continue to participate in recommended treatment. If the court determines that the defendant has not complied, the case will be discharged from the Veterans Court. The case will proceed as if it had been originally filed in a criminal division.

How Are Criminal Charges Dismissed in the Veterans Court?

The benefit of the Veterans Court is that upon successful completion, there is a court order administratively dismissing the charges. The program in misdemeanor court is 12 months. Under the 2013 order, only misdemeanor charges were eligible. A felony charge, until recently, was not eligible for this unique approach to handling our nation’s veterans. You can review the changes that occurred in 2015 here.

Spend 600 Months In Prison When Police Search Lost Cell Phone

Search Warrant Cell Phone

Search of Lost Cell Phone

What Happens When Police Search Your Lost Cell Phone That Has Illegal Material On It?

 

The story begins in a Walmart in Florida. The owner lost their phone at Walmart. After he left the phone, it was found, and the owner agreed to pick it up from the store. The owner of the phone failed to pick the phone up from the store. The store manager looked at the phone in an effort to find a photo of the owner. When the manager found contraband on the phone, she called the cops – police search lost cell phone.

Search Warrant for an Abandoned Cell Phone

 

Police search lost cell phone – The cops waited 23 days to get a search warrant. A Florida Court ruled that this did not constitute an unreasonable delay to obtain a search warrant. First, the court found that the defendants had hoped the store manager would not report the materials found on the phone to the police. Second, the phone owner had filed an insurance claim and replaced the phone with the exact same model. The decision to not retrieve the phone from the store, coupled with the filing of an insurance claim, and replacing the phone with the same model constituted an abandonment of ownership of the phone. Search and seizure law requires that those who challenge a search and seizure must have standing to challenge the search. In this case, the phone owner had no standing to challenge the search, the phone and any rights the owner had to challenge the search and seizure were gone. The court also addressed the Private Search Doctrine that supports searches by citizens, that otherwise might be illegal if performed by the police or the government.

Sentenced to 600 Months in Federal Prison

 

By the way, the court found that a 600 month sentence for the materials found on the phone was just fine. The phone owner entered a written plea agreement and the sentence was a possible outcome that while it was as harsh as the judge could impose, it was within the terms of the plea agreement.

Case Excerpts

 

“When Vo [store manager] failed to meet Sparks [phone owner] with the phone as the two had previously agreed,  Defendants knew how to find Vo to get their phone back. But Defendants did not return to their Walmart store and look for Vo. Nor did they ask for Walmart’s assistance in obtaining their phone, found in its store, by its employee. They also did not file a report with Walmart or the police complaining that Vo would not return their phone, despite their requests. Instead, they made a conscious decision to stop pursuing the phone, even though they knew how to get it back with reasonable effort. That decision—whether because Defendants hoped that Vo would not report them if they did not continue to seek the phone or because Defendants simply thought recovery of the phone was not worth their reasonable effort—can be viewed only as a deliberate decision to abandon the phone. Because Defendants abandoned their phone within three days of having lost it, they lack standing to challenge law enforcement’s 23-day delay between recovering the phone and obtaining a search warrant to search it.”

The Private-Search Doctrine

 

“The Fourth Amendment provides that the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. The protection the Fourth Amendment affords, however, extends to governmental action only; “it is wholly inapplicable ‘to a search or seizure, even an unreasonable one, effected by a private individual not acting as an agent of the Government or with the participation or knowledge of any governmental official.’” United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113, 104 S. Ct. 1652, 1656 (1984) (quoting Walter v. United States, 447 U.S. 649, 662, 100 S. Ct. 2395, 2404 (1980) (Blackmun, J., dissenting)). So once an individual’s expectation of privacy in particular information has been frustrated by a private individual, the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit law enforcement’s subsequent use of that information, even if obtained without a warrant. Id. at 116, 104 S. Ct. at 1656; see id. at 117, 104 S. Ct. at 1658-59.”

Read Complete Opinion Here: https://media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/files/201412143.pdf

Read More About Search And Seizure of A Cell Phone Here.

Read Even More About Search And Seizure of A CellPhone Here.

Sample Target Letter | Federal Criminal Case

Target Letter
Target Letter

Target Letter


What is a Target Letter?


In short a target letter is sent to, “a person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative federal criminal defendant.” A Federal Criminal Defense Attorney has training in how to respond to such a letter. It is probably best to allow your attorney to respond to the letter. Sometimes the cases are complex and involve defending wire and bank fraud charges. Drug crimes, tax crimes, computer fraud and abuse,  and money laundering are also frequent flyers. These types of investigations are numerous and ongoing in the Middle District of Florida.
Below is the text of a typical target letter sent by Federal Prosecutors prior to seeking indictment of a “target.” A target has been defined as: “a person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant.” United States Attorney’s Manual § 9-11.151. Proceed cautiously if you have received one of these letters.

Sample Target Letter:


Re: Grand Jury Investigation, USAO No. 20XXXXXX
Dear Target:
This letter is to advise you that you are now a target of a Federal Grand Jury investigation in this District involving your activities with others related to [Charges and Activities] fraudulent mortgage transactions, in violation of the conspiracy, wire and bank fraud statutes [Statutes Here] (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371, 1343 and 1344), as well as other possible violations of federal criminal laws. The United States is prepared to proceed before a Federal Grand Jury to seek charges against you.
Should you desire to discuss the matter with us before we proceed to bring formal charges against you, please have your attorney contact Assistant United States Attorney [Name Here] (813) 555-5555, so that we may schedule an appointment. If you do not have an attorney and would still like to discuss the matter, please contact Special Agent [Name] at (813) 555-5555 to arrange an appointment. If we do not hear from you or your attorney on or before [Deadline Date], we shall assume that you do not wish to discuss the matter and will proceed accordingly.

 

Sincerely,

Assistant United States Attorney

If You have received a letter like this, we can fight for you. 
Get advice from an expert – Call 813-222-2220

 

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