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Investment Fraud in Delray Beach

charlottedurante_180x120According to the Associated Press, In Delray Beach, a former city commissioner is charged with a fraudulent investment. Charlotte Gilmore Durante, a licensed real estate broker, is accused of defrauding investors out of approximately $1.8 million.

Durante allegedly used the money towards the nonprofit Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History run by her daughter, Lori. Durante was arrested Wednesday and charged with grand theft, money laundering, and a few other charges.

She had guaranteed promising returns to investors who boosted down payments for her clients. Durante is known for making history in the 1970s as one of Delray Beach’s first black female city commissioners, according to the Associated Press.

Her career may never recover.

How it Works

This specific type of fraudulent investment is known as a Ponzi scheme. It is a process that uses money from investors to pay returns to other investors. A Ponzi scheme is designed to avoid actually using earned profit to return payments. Generally, Ponzi schemes focus on short-term returns that are atypically high. In order to fuel the scheme, there must be an increasing flow of money from investors, otherwise the scheme will eventually collapse because the earnings are less than the payments to the investors.

The Consequences

Fraud charges in the state of Florida should be taken very seriously:

  • $300 – $20,000 is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
  • $20,000 – $100,000 is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
  • More than $100,000 is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years and a $10,000 fine.

Types of Fraud

Fraud crimes are extremely serious in the state of Florida, contact an experience criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with any of the following fraud crimes:

  • Mortgage fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Insider trading
  • Theft by fraud
  • Bad checks
  • Organized defraud schemes

Fraud Defense

In Florida, most fraud changes involve the Economic Crimes Division (ECD) putting together a great amount of evidence for presentation before a grand jury. The best way to resolve these cases is for your defense lawyer to have a good working relationship with the prosecutor and to try to avoid any serious consequences by paying restitution. In Florida, restitution outweighs incarceration, so if your lawyer can persuade the victim to drop charges in favor of receiving their money back, you can usually avoid a conviction.

If you did not commit the fraud crime, your defense lawyer can prepare an aggressive defense and force the state to prove its case. In many cases, that can be a difficult thing for the state to do.

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