With the increase in telephone scams in recent years, the federal government and state authorities have cracked down hard on telemarketing fraud schemes. If your company is under investigation for telephone fraud or you are facing charges, seek legal counsel as soon as possible. For help from a telemarketing fraud defense lawyer in St. Petersburg, call Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 for a free consult.
What constitutes telemarketing fraud?
A lot of actions and schemes may constitute telemarketing fraud. Essentially, any time a representative calls someone, makes a false statement or uses unlawful techniques to pressure or trick someone, and receives money from the person, authorities may consider it telemarketing fraud. Below are a few examples of fraudulent pitches and techniques.
- Convincing the victim to pay a fee to obtain a credit card or to restore credit (advanced fee scams)
- Telling the victim you will enter his name into a lottery for a prize (as a means to collect the victim’s personal information for fraudulent purposes)
- Bullying or pressuring the caller to act quickly and send a payment
- Selling foreign lottery tickets over the phone
- Promising a product or service and failing to deliver
- Promising the victim will make a lot of money working from home and other get-rich-quick schemes (e.g., pyramid scheme)
- Selling fake or hyper-inflated vacation investments and timeshares
- Using scare tactics to extract information or money
- Tricking the victim into providing them with their financial account information for a “wire transfer”
- Refusing to send you written information about the product/service
What are the penalties for telemarketing fraud?
The penalties for telemarketing fraud depend upon several factors, one of which is whether authorities try the case in federal or state court. Many cases of telemarketing fraud involve violations of not only state laws, but also of the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines, so they are often under federal jurisdiction.
Under state law, defendants can face third-degree felony charges, penalties for which can be five years imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines. They may also face civil penalties. [Fla. Stat. §§ 501.619, 501.623] Subsequent offenses are second-degree felonies, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
Under federal law, defendants may face penalties that vary depending on the nature of their alleged fraud. Under 18 U.S. Code § 2326, if the offense involved telemarketing, they may face enhanced penalties of up to five years in prison in addition to penalties imposed if convicted of a federal crime under another statute. If the defendant allegedly targeted people over the age of 55, that increases to 10 years imprisonment. Further, those convicted must pay restitution to all victims. [18 U.S. Code § 2327]
Can Goldman Wetzel help me with my telemarketing fraud charges?
At Goldman Wetzel, our defense team has the background, resources, and tenacity to handle even the toughest fraud cases – at both the state and federal level. When we take a case, we protect our client’s rights, ensure the court hears her side of the story, and ensure she knows what to expect each step of the way.
We understand how important your freedom and livelihood is and we will invest our time and resources in fighting diligently on your behalf. If you are in need of legal defense, contact Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900.