Articles Posted in Theft

It is not uncommon for the State to charge people with multiple crimes related to a theft scheme. While it is not unlawful to charge people with numerous offenses at one time, the protections against double jeopardy prohibit a person from being tried or convicted more than once for the same crime. As such, any conviction that violates a person’s protections against double jeopardy must be vacated, as demonstrated by a recent Florida decision issued in a theft case. If you are faced with theft charges, it is smart to confer with a St. Petersburg theft crime defense lawyer to evaluate your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the two defendants were both employed by a health services company. The first defendant served as the chief operating officer, while the second defendant was the executive director. Charges stemmed from their involvement in back-billing Medicaid for services that were never provided to patients. Both were charged with Medicaid provider fraud and grand theft. Following a joint trial, the jury convicted the first defendant of Medicaid provider fraud and grand theft with a value below $20,000, while the jury convicted the second defendant of Medicaid provider fraud and grand theft with a value above $20,000.

Allegedly, both defendants moved to vacate their grand theft convictions based on double jeopardy grounds, arguing that all elements of grand theft were encompassed within Medicaid provider fraud. The court trial court agreed and granted the defendants’ motions. The State then appealed. Continue Reading ›

Although there are sentencing guidelines for violations of both state and federal law, the courts have significant leeway when determining what constitutes an appropriate sentence. The penalties they deliver must be reasonable, however, and if they are not, they may be overturned. In a recent Florida opinion issued in an identity theft case, the court discussed factors weighed in determining the reasonableness of a sentence. If you are accused of a theft offense, it is important to understand the penalties you may face if you are convicted, and you should speak to a St. Petersburg theft crime defense attorney as soon as possible.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with multiple counts of aggravated identity theft and having fifteen or more unauthorized access devices in violation of federal law. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of possessing unauthorized access devices under a plea agreement.

It is reported that the presentence report stated that during his arrest, the defendant destroyed multiple devices that contained evidence of his theft and that the funds he diverted included COVID unemployment benefits. The Government sought a sentence of 51 months due to the egregiousness of the defendant’s crimes, his destruction of evidence, and his prior criminal history, while the defendant argued that the court should impose a 45-month sentence. The court agreed with the Government and sentenced the defendant to 51 months in prison, after which he appealed, arguing that the sentence was unreasonable. Continue Reading ›

If law enforcement suspects that people are engaged in unlawful activity within a residence, they will typically obtain a warrant to search the property and seize any evidence of illegal behavior. The police must have more than a hunch that a person is breaking the law to obtain a warrant, though, and if a warrant is issued without just cause, any evidence obtained via the subsequent search may be inadmissible. Recently, a Florida court explained what constitutes reasonable suspicion for the purposes of issuing a warrant, in a case in which the defendant moved to suppress evidence that led to numerous theft and weapons charges, on the basis that the court lacked adequate grounds to issue a warrant. If you are charged with a theft crime, it is advisable to speak to a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney to determine what you can do to protect your rights.

The Defendant’s Charges

Allegedly, the police searched the defendant’s home pursuant to a warrant and found firearms, weapons paraphernalia, evidence of fraud, and electronic identity theft devices. The defendant was subsequently charged with aggravated identity theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of federal law. He moved for suppression of the evidence obtained via the warrant. The case was referred to a magistrate judge, who issued a report recommending that the court deny the motion. The defendant filed objections in response to the recommendation. The court ultimately found the defendant’s objections unavailing and denied his motion.

Reasonable Suspicion in Criminal Cases

Under the Fourth Amendment, warrants will not be issued absent probable cause, supported by an affirmation or oath that specifically describes the place to be searched and the things or people to be seized. Probable cause to issue a search warrant is present when the circumstances, taken as a whole, demonstrate that there is a fair likelihood that evidence of a crime or contraband will be found in a particular case. Continue Reading ›

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