Fraud and Misrepresentation
As a result of the economic downturn, an increasing number of people and companies are finding themselves victims of fraud, misrepresentation, embezzlement, and civil theft. While Bernie Madoff, Scott Rothstein, and Allen Standford stand out as some of the more notorious Ponzi schemers, many other individuals and businesses have found themselves victims of fraud and embezzlement. Unfortunately, the fraud in many instances involves people the victims know well – family members, close friends, employees, and other persons in positions of trust, such as brokers or attorneys.
Because fraudulent schemes have become more sophisticated with the advent of the Internet and other forms of technology, financial fraud can often be difficult to detect. Litigating fraud cases often involves a substantial amount of detective work, and often requires the use of forensic accountants, network security experts, and other professionals. Knowing what documents to ask for, and how to obtain them, is often critical to unearthing the fraudulent activity and being able to “trace the money.”
Financial fraud and misrepresentation occur in virtually every venue. Our firm has handled cases in which former employees have stolen and improperly diverted monies from their employer, as well as cases in which close friends and family have deceived family members and neighbors who lacked the capacity to understand what they were doing to sign away their rights to money and property. In some of these cases, we enlisted the aid of law enforcement at the state and federal levels so that the perpetrators of these frauds would be criminally prosecuted.
We also have handled cases on behalf of individuals and businesses who have been the victims of commercial deception or fraud by competing business owners. Typically these cases involve fraudulent claims under the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act about the quality of a competitor’s product, or business practices, which result in damage to both the business’ reputation and bottom line. They also may involve claims of unfair competition under state or federal antitrust statutes, as well as claims of tortious interference with business relations, conspiracy, or trade libel.
Our litigation strategy depends in each case on what is in the client’s best interest. In some cases, aggressively pursuing the case and taking it to trial may be the only option. In other cases, depending on the scope of the fraud, the amount of damages at issue, and the personal circumstances of the client, it may make more sense to try and reach a settlement. There also may be other considerations, such as a company’s reputation and ongoing business operations, that bear on whether a case can be resolved, and for how much. We help clients weigh each of these factors, and make the best and most informed decision they can based on what has occurred.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud, misrepresentation, embezzlement, and civil theft, call our Miami office to discuss whether we can assist you in recovering your losses.