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MShore, Attorney
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What is the statute of limitations for criminal fraud in the

Customer Question

What is the statute of limitations for criminal fraud in the state of Florida? I was told by one person that it was 4 years, another 5, and a police officer told me it was 6 years if it was theft by deception. I wired $15,000 to the thief on Dec 24, 2004. I have been ill and out of state. I fear that the deadline is midnight tonight Dec 31, 2009. Can you help me.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  MShore replied 6 years ago.
In FL, the SOL is determined by the degree of the felony. The SOL for third degree felonies is three years from the date of the offense. However Section 775.15(3)(a) Florida Statutes provides that for an offense for which fraud is a material element the SOL can be extended up to three more years for a total period of six years. In order to take advantage of this provision the victim must become aware of the fraud after the expiration of the initial three years but before the expiration of the maximum of six years. Once the victim becomes aware of the fraud the State only has one year from the date the victim discovered the fraud to commence prosecution. While a slightly different issue to commence prosecution the State must file the information within the applicable SOL (or if fraud within one year of the victim becoming aware). Additionally filing the information alone is not enough the State must also be diligent in trying to serve the Defendant with the Information. If the Defendant is not served during the initial SOL or during the fraud tolling period then the Defendant would be entitled to dismissal unless the State could show good reason why they could not serve the Defendant.

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