Burglary and Theft: The Law In Florida

If you are convicted for a crime involving a burglary or theft in Florida, you could be facing some life altering consequences. Even if the burglary or theft does not cause any physical harm to another person, it would still be considered as serious in nature and the State of Florida has some very serious sentences for those who are convicted. It is important to hire a good criminal defense attorney to fight any charge made against you.

Types of Burglary and Theft Crimes in Florida

The following list includes the different types of charges that are considered to be offences in this category under Florida law.

Theft of Property: All violations that involve stealing of any kind of property will fall under this category. It is then further classified based on the value of the property that has been taken. So anything worth more that $300 is a felony and the amount will determine the category of felony which would then decide the amount of sentencing that should be given to the individual.

Possessing Stolen Property: Any person who traffics or intends to traffic in property that they know is stolen is committing an offence and it is regarded as a pretty serious offence. Possession of stolen property is a felony of the second degree.

Shoplifting: While you make think that shoplifting only includes stealing something, the definition is actually much broader and includes a number of other things like removing or altering a label, code or price tag, by transferring merchandise to a different container or by removing a shopping cart with the intention of depriving the owner of the cart.

Embezzlement: Embezzlement is when a person takes someone else’s money or property by abusing a position of trust or official job. It is generally not a violent crime and is regarded as a ‘white collar’ crime. For example, if a top executive of a company deposits company money into his own account for his personal use, it would amount to embezzlement.

Larceny: Larceny could either be petty larceny or grand larceny. In both instances, it involves taking the property of another person without their proper consent and with the intention to deprive the person from the use or ownership of the property. If the property is worth less than $300 it falls in the petty category while anything above that is grand larceny.

Credit Card Fraud: Lying to a person with the intention to make them part with something of value based on the lie is called fraud. So in the case of credit cards, this fraud could either be through the internet by obtaining the person’s credit card information online without their consent or through personal contact with the person and then using the information for personal gain illegally.

Seek Help – Call the Identity Theft Hotline

On November 1, 1999, Federal Trade Commission started the Identity Theft Hotline. This is a toll-free number that victims of identity theft can call to report their case and get assistance on how to start combating the crime. On the eight month of its operation, the hotline has been receiving an average of more than 1000 calls every week.

Forty per cent of those calls were inquiries from ordinary consumers concerned on their safety. They proactively sought advice on how they can protect themselves. The counselors have provided safety measures and steps on how these consumers could minimize the risks, particularly on how to avoid credit card fraud, the number one id theft crime in the United States. They also gave advice on how to maintain financial privacy.

The remaining sixty per cent, or generally, the bulk of calls received, were from those who have already become victims of the crime. They were given steps on how to prevent further harm to their credit records. They were also given instructions and contact numbers of agencies where they can obtain copies of their credit records, how to request for fraud alert, and how to request for closure of erroneously created bank accounts. Victims were also educated on their rights under Fair Credit Reporting Act, and how they can use it to correct erroneous entries on their financial records. They were also educated on their rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Truth in Lending Act, which limits their responsibility for unauthorized credit card charges. Victims are also educated on their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which specifically states the practices that collectors are allowed and not allowed to do. Victims were also advised to notify law enforcement agencies, mainly because police reports usually help victims in proving that they are the real victims and not the impersonators. And most importantly, victims were being referred to proper agencies if the id theft crimes they have experienced fall under a more specific agency’s jurisdiction. For example, if a victim would report that somebody is using his or her social security number, the victim will be referred to the specific identity theft or fraud hotline of the Social Security Administration.

These, so far, are the assistance that victims and concerned citizens could get by calling the FTC Identity Theft Hotline. The counselors are specially trained to handle identity theft issues and would be the best people to answer queries on this crime.

Secure Document Shredding is More Than Just Best Practice, It’s the Law

Identity theft, the nation’s fastest growing crime, occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, social security number, or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Approximately ten million Americans had their identity stolen in 2008. Proper document shredding is one of the easiest ways to help prevent identity theft. While it used to be best practice, it’s now the law due to growing identity theft crime stats.

According to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 2008 complaint data, six forms of identity theft are most common. These include:
o Credit card fraud (20%), where someone acquires your credit card number and uses it to make a purchase;

o Government fraud (15%), which includes tax, social security and driver license fraud;

o Employment fraud (15%) occurs when someone without a valid social security number borrows someone else’s to obtain a job;

o Utilities fraud (13%) occurs when utilities are opened using the name of a child or someone who does not live at the residence;

o Bank fraud (11%), which includes check theft, changing the amount on a check and ATM pass code theft; and

o Loan fraud (4%), when someone applies for a loan in your name.

Every day printed, confidential and personal information is produced and passed on to businesses and strangers. Identity theft continues to rise every year while governments and regulators around the globe continue to introduce legislation to help protect businesses and individuals. Some of the legal efforts to make identity theft more difficult include:

Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) puts very strict guidelines on the healthcare industry to protect sensitive patient information. Failure to comply with HIPAA results in heavy fines and potential loss of business.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) includes provisions to protect consumers’ personal financial information held by financial institutions, which comprises banks, securities firms, insurance companies, and companies providing other types of financial services and products to consumers. The GLBA requires banks to develop privacy notices and provide customers with the option of prohibiting the sharing of their confidential information with outside third parties. On July 1, 2001, the GLBA was amended with the requirement that financial institutions must have a comprehensive, written information security program which includes the proper destruction of
documents.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) mandates that businesses properly dispose of documents containing consumer information. Businesses are required to take measures to destroy all consumer reports to the point that they will not be reconstructed or reread. Noncompliance of FACTA may result in fines, class action lawsuits and federal and state legal enforcement actions for violation of the law.

In recent years, most states enacted identity theft protection acts as well, which criminalize identity theft and impose obligations on businesses to protect the privacy of consumers’ information.

Federal and state regulations help to ensure consumer and business protection. Proper document shredding is a crucial step in abiding by these laws. Shredding and destroying information on paper used to be considered a best practice. Now it’s the law. Secure document shredding helps prevent identity theft and protects the integrity and liability of your business – saving business’ time, money and their reputation.

Police Caught Breaking the Law and Brought to Justice

Surveillance cameras have captured criminals in the act of breaking the law many times. These same camera systems can also be used to make certain that the police are doing their job correctly and being honest in their testimonials. This story is about how a good security camera system help keep two officers and a third man from getting away with robbery.

This story takes place in a tiny corner bar on the east coast of the united states. The small bar has been around for several years and is the regular hangout of the local police officers. Around four AM on a Tuesday morning, two uniformed officers were to an auto garage near the bar because an alarm had been triggered. It was a false alarm, so the two policemen made their way over to the bar where they and they’re brethren often hung out.

While walking around the bar the two officers discovered that doors that led to the bar’s basement were unlocked. So they decided to go in and make themselves at home, hanging out in the empty bar for about forty minutes. During this time, the uniformed officers were joined by a third man in civilian clothing and all three of the men spent some time watching TV and even drinking beer. One of the law enforcement officers eventually made his way over to the small room where the safe was located. Once the cop was in the room with the safe, he wasted little time getting the safe open and pulling a handful of cash out and put it in his pocket. It seems that only the one policemen was involved in taking the money, soon after the theft they all left the premises.

Luckily the cops’ actions were being recorded by the bar’s security cameras from the time they started walking around the bar. “It’s cut and dry,” a source who viewed the footage said. “There’s no question what he did.” Once the video footage was brought to light, an internal affairs investigation was initiated.

Without the aid of the security cameras, this crime would surely have gone in to the unsolved cases file. The people who’ve seen the footage say that the evidence is concrete, so a successful prosecution seems very likely. The wad of cash that was stolen was substantially less then the investment in the camera system.

Understanding Identity Theft Crimes

Technology has changed the nature of crime in Miami over the past few decades. For example, according to the Miami FBI chief, identity theft has grown exponentially in recent years. Considering the increased prevalence of these crimes, one can expect many more Miami residents to face ID theft related charges than ever before.

Miami Leading the Nation in ID Theft

Miami has the highest rate of identity theft of any metropolitan area in the nation. In 2012, there were over 35,000 complaints about ID theft, which doubled from 2011, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The same year there were over 12 million reported incidents of identity theft across the United States. The number of incidents of identity theft is predicted to continue to rise in Florida. The state also leads the nation in the number of theft of government benefits, including theft of tax returns. There were 69,000 reported complaints of theft of government benefits in 2012.

Observers believe that Florida is a hot-bed for these crimes because of the demographics of the state. The large elderly population and the high number of individuals on Medicare make area residents a prime target for these offenses.

Identity Theft Charges in Miami

Local residents may face any number of different criminal charges stemming from identity theft. In virtually all of the cases, however, the potential penalties for conviction are stiff. Some of the most common ID theft related crimes include:

– Obtaining Property by False Pretense – Otherwise known as “larceny,” this crime refers to using another’s identification to obtain property. Filling out information on applications using another’s information can lead to these charges.

– Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information – A similar crime, the state statute specifically lists the identifying information that can lead to these charges, including using another’s name, date of birth, driver licenses number, or even mother’s maiden name. There are different degrees of this crime, with more severe penalties when the information is used to obtain large amount of property or involves a larger numbers of people.

Defending Against ID Theft Charges

Considering the recognition of the Miami area as a problematic spot for these crimes, state and federal officials will undoubtedly be cracking down on suspected ID thieves. Unfortunately, lawmakers often overreach when dealing with suspected criminals–violating constitutional rights and otherwise failing to treat suspects fairly. At other times, innocent parties can be arrested. It is not uncommon to make mistakes on applications or not know when using information from others breaks the law.

For these reasons, if you or someone you know is facing ID theft charges, be sure to seek out experienced legal help immediately. An attorney can analyze the specifics of your case to determine if authorities acted properly when collecting evidence against you. If so, the information obtained may not be used against you. At other times, advocates can work with prosecutors to obtain favorable plea bargains to avoid the harsher penalties and allow you to move on with you life as quickly as possible.