Experienced In Law. Respected Throughout The Legal Community.

Photo of attorneys Gregory J. Morse and Amy Morse

Understanding fraud in the Sunshine State: a guide to civil and criminal law

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2023 | Federal Crimes |

Fraud is a serious issue in Florida, with both civil and criminal consequences. Individuals and businesses need to understand the differences between these two types of fraud and how they are addressed in the state. Here we will give details on each type of fraud and how they are handled differently in court.

Civil fraud

Civil fraud in Florida occurs when one person or business intentionally deceives another person or company to gain an unfair advantage or financial benefit. This crime can include false advertising, breach of contract, or misrepresentation.

To prove civil fraud in Florida, the plaintiff must show that:

  • The defendant made a false representation
  • The defendant knew the representation was false
  • The representation was made to induce the plaintiff to act or refrain from acting
  • The plaintiff relied on the representation and suffered damages as a result

If the plaintiff successfully proves civil fraud, they may be awarded damages to compensate them for their losses.

Criminal fraud

Criminal fraud in Florida refers to illegal activities under state law, such as identity theft, credit card fraud, or insurance fraud. The state typically prosecutes these crimes, which can result in criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment. It is important to note that criminal fraud can also include acts considered white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement or money laundering. These crimes often involve complex financial transactions and can have severe consequences for those who are found guilty.

Fraud can take many forms, and individuals and businesses must be aware of the potential consequences of fraudulent activity. By understanding the difference between civil and criminal fraud and taking steps to prevent and detect fraud, you can protect yourself and your business from the damaging effects of this crime.