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Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer > Blog > White Collar Crime > Florida Man Sentenced to 12 Months (and 1 Day) in Federal Prison for Mail Fraud

Florida Man Sentenced to 12 Months (and 1 Day) in Federal Prison for Mail Fraud


White collar criminal prosecutions in Florida tend to focus on fraud. This encompasses a wide range of non-violent yet still criminal conduct designed to deprive a person of their property through deception. Such fraud often invokes federal prosecution as these cases almost always involve the use of some means of interstate communication or commerce, such as the Internet or the United States Postal Service.

U.S. Attorney: Defendant Used Position as Bank Teller to Steal Customer Funds

A recent white collar criminal case from Tampa, United States v. Lara, offers a case in point. In this case, the United States Attorney’s office in Tampa charged a defendant with five counts of mail fraud. More precisely, the government alleged the defendant abused his position as a personal banker to misappropriate funds from one of his clients.

According to a criminal information filed in November 2023, the defendant worked for Fifth Third Bank in Brandenton, Florida, for a little over a year. The defendant’s principal job duties included acting as a retail bank teller and assisting clients with opening and closing accounts.

The information identified one of the elderly retail customers as the victim of his fraudulent scheme. The government alleged that while assisting this customer, the defendant learned their “personal identifying information” and proceeded to access their account without permission. More to the point, the government said the defendant “utilized internet banking to initiate check payments” from the victim’s account to himself via the Postal Service.

The information said there were five checks mailed from Fifth Third Bank to the defendant for a combined total of $4,500. Thus the five counts of mail fraud. But the information added the defendant actually defrauded his victim for a total of more than $68,000 during a period of roughly a year-and-a-half.

Rather than go to trial, the defendant decided to plead guilty to all five counts. On February 14, 2024, U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven sentenced the defendant to one year and one day in federal prison. Following his release from prison, the defendant must serve an additional two years on supervised release (federal probation). Judge Scriven further ordered the defendant to pay $68,023.23 to Fifth Third Bank as restitution, payable in monthly installments of $300.

Contact the Joshi Law Firm Today

Mail fraud is a more serious federal crime than you might realize. A single conviction carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. And those penalties may be enhanced to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine when the victim is a financial institution, as in the case above.

So if you have been charged with mail fraud or any similar federal offense, you must be prepared to defend yourself in court. Your first step should be to hire an experienced Orlando white collar crimes defense attorney who can review your case and advise you of your legal options. Call the Joshi Law Firm, PA, at 844-GO-JOSHI today or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.



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