A man whose case was discussed on the Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog in August was recently indicted on charges of mail and wire fraud in federal court.
What defendants must consider is that when they face charges such as theft in Jacksonville, there is always a possibility the charges could be shifted from state circuit court to federal court.
That means penalties against a defendant can increase and charges can become more difficult to defeat if a case gets moved to federal court. Charges of grand theft can turn into scores of charges of fraud, including mail and wire fraud.
In this case, the Jacksonville man was previously charged with wooing potential investors by driving around in a Bentley. He allegedly convinced investors to give him money because he was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a high-dollar broker. Police allege he convinced a woman to give him $10,000 while he was sitting in jail on a three-way phone conversation.
He previously pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft for stealing from Midas after they did nearly $10,000 of work on the Bentley. He had already spent enough time in custody to be sentenced to time served.
But while awaiting the charges on the alleged investment scheme operation, a federal grand jury indicted him on three counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
The wire fraud charges stem from four transfers of $500 each from an alleged victim in Jacksonville to the man in Los Angeles. It’s unclear where the mail fraud charges stem from.
The Florida Times-Union reports that the state charges of organized schemes to defraud may be temporarily dropped while federal charges are pending. The newspaper reports those charges could be re-filed if the man isn’t convicted in federal court.
Being charged federally changes the situation for a defendant. Federal prosecutors are able to use the resources of not only local law enforcement officers, but also federal investigators who are specially trained in these complex criminal cases.
This is all the more reason to make sure a defendant has strong legal representation at every step of the case. Typically, state prosecutors will take on cases that could go to either system. Sometimes, federal prosecutors request to take over cases where they feel they can secure convictions with greater penalties or if the defendant has a long criminal history record.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, criminal history record and financial lost are calculated to give judges a possible range of imprisonment for which to punish a defendant. But in the state system, judges have more discretion on sentencing and can send a person to prison based on the possible penalty for that charge. That can make a big difference alone.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
More Blog Entries:
Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty to Grand Theft in $93,000 Brake Job Case: August 1, 2011
Feds indict silver-tongued Jacksonville con man, by Jim Schoettler, The Florida Times-Union