State and federal prosecutors have become wary of Bitcoin scams and cryptocurrency fraudsters. As cryptocurrency becomes increasingly popular amongst casual investors, it becomes more common for opportunistic scammers to defraud digital currency users.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has undertaken a campaign against cryptocurrency fraudsters. Without a competent criminal trial attorney, defendants face an uphill battle against an opponent with virtually unlimited funding, attorneys, and resources. Florida law imposes harsh penalties for Bitcoin scams and fraud. A Miami organized fraud attorney can work to defend your name and protect your innocence.Bitcoin Fraud Charges - an Explanation
Under Florida law, Bitcoin scams and crypto frauds are charged under the organized fraud statute. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant created a scheme to defraud people out of money or financial instruments. When it comes to Bitcoin, this generally looks like one of the following:
- False Pretenses - the perpetrator misrepresented a fact to the victim, and the victim paid money to the perpetrator based on this false pretense. For example, the perpetrator may claim that they are selling some sort of goods and receive payment in Bitcoin or another form of digital currency from the victim, even though the goods did not exist. A conviction under the false pretenses statute could result in anywhere from 60 days in jail to 30 years in prison and $500 to $10,000 in fines depending on the amount in controversy.
- Impersonation - the perpetrator pretends to be someone they are not, impersonating someone who the victim is likely to send money to. The victim then sends the perpetrator Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies, based on the case of mistaken identity. This is considered a 3rd degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Charges are dependent on the amount in controversy.
- Wire - the perpetrator uses some form of electronic communication to deceive the victim into sending them cryptocurrency. This could be as simple as creating a website intending to defraud visitors out of their Bitcoin. Depending on the amount defrauded, defendants face between 1 and 30 years in prison, and $1,000 to $10,000 in fines.
The United States federal government makes illegal Bitcoin fraud as well. Federal laws in this area closely mirror Florida's statutes, but impose significantly harsher penalties. The SEC is increasingly cracking down on all crypto-related crimes, and charges are on the rise.
Considering the cryptocurrency's anonymous and unregulated nature, it is not surprising that Bitcoin scams are popular amongst fraudsters. Prosecutors and courts see this as a large threat, so crypto-fraud convictions are likely to be on the rise in the future.Charged with a Crypto-Related Fraud Crime? Miami Cryptocurrency Attorney
Whether you are facing federal or Florida state fraud charges, contact a Miami criminal defense attorney immediately to protect your rights and receive the best treatment in your case. An attorney can file any number of pre-trial motions, and work on your behalf to cast doubt on the prosecution's case against you.