Dealing in Stolen Property (Fencing) is the crime of knowingly selling, distributing, buying, possessing, or otherwise using stolen property. Many people find themselves charged with this crime simply because they pawn an item that later shows up on a registry. Often, they are siply a bona fide purchaser who had no reason to know the item was stolen. Countless factors go into a determination in these matters. Often times these are accompanied by Grand Theft or Petit Theft charges. Both charges combined may create a Double Jeopardy issue. If you or a loved one is accused of Dealing in Stolen Property, a free consultation with one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys may help you determine the next best step.
Dealing in Stolen Property (Organizing) is the crime of or of planning, managing, or supervising the theft of property, or otherwise obtaining stolen property, with the intention of selling, distributing, or disposing of it.
DEFINITION OF DEALING IN STOLEN PROPERTY IN FLORIDA
Dealing in Stolen Property, as defined by § 812.019, Florida Statutes, involves trafficking in, or endeavoring to traffic in, property that was criminally or wrongfully taken. Property includes anything of value, such as real property, including things growing on, affixed to and found in land; tangible or intangible personal property, including rights, privileges, interests, and claims; and services.
(1) Dealing in Stolen Property (Fencing), as defined by § 812.019(1), Florida Statutes, is the act of knowingly selling, distributing, transferring, dispensing of or otherwise disposing of stolen property. Fencing also is knowingly buying, receiving, possessing, obtaining control of, or using stolen property.
(2) Dealing in Stolen Property (Organizing), as defined by § 812.019(2), Florida Statutes, is any act of initiating, organizing, planning, financing, directing, managing, or supervising the theft of property. Organizing also is knowingly buying, receiving, possessing, obtaining control of, or using stolen property with the intent to sell, transfer, distribute, dispense of or otherwise dispose of the property.
Evidence of dealing in stolen property, as defined by § 812.022, Florida Statutes, include the following proofs from which the State can infer that the person in possession of the property knew or should have known that the property had been stolen:
(1) Proof that a person (a) presented false identification, or identification that is not current, in connection with the leasing of personal property; or (b) failed to return leased property within 72 hours of the termination of the leasing
(2) Proof of possession of recently stolen property, unless satisfactorily explained
(3) Proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property at a price substantially below the fair market value, unless satisfactorily explained
(4) Proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property by a dealer in property, out of the regular course of business or without the usual indicators of ownership other than mere possession, unless satisfactorily explained
(5) Proof that a dealer who regularly deals in used property possesses stolen property, upon which a name and phone number of a person other than the offeror of the property are conspicuously displayed
(6) Proof that a person was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle and that the ignition mechanism of the motor vehicle had been bypassed or the steering wheel locking mechanism had been broken or bypassed
The State’s attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of Dealing in Stolen Property by establishing the following (2) elements of the crime:
(1) The defendant (a) trafficked in or endeavored to traffic in property, which includes anything of value (fencing); or (b) initiated, organized, planned, financed, directed, managed, or supervised the theft of the property (organizing)
(2) The defendant knew or should have known that the property was criminally or wrongfully taken or offered for sale as stolen property
PENALTIES FOR DEALING IN STOLEN PROPERTY IN FLORIDA
(1) Dealing in Stolen Property (Fencing) is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 as provided in §. 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes.
(2) Dealing in Stolen Property (Organizing) and trafficking in such stolen property is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 as provided in §. 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes.
(3) Any person in Florida who uses the Internet to sell or offer for sale any merchandise or other property that the person knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is stolen commits:
(a) A second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in prison and a fine of up to $500 as provided in § 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes, if the value of the property is less than $300
(b) A third degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 as provided in § 775.082 and § 775.083, Florida Statutes, if the value of the property is $300 or more,
Note: Any defendant previously convicted of any combination of two or more felonies in Florida who is subsequently convicted of another felony may be subject to enhanced penalties or a mandatory minimum prison term as provided in § 775.084.
DEFENSES TO DEALING IN STOLEN PROPERTY IN FLORIDA
(1) The property was not stolen
(2) There was no knowledge or evidence that the property was stolen, often called a bona fide purchaser
(3) A reasonable belief the property was abandoned, for example, furniture placed at the curb on the same day that the trash is collected
(4) False claims of ownership by the accuser or alleged victim
(5) Circumstantial evidence insufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
EXAMPLES OF DEALING IN STOLEN PROPERTY IN FLORIDA
(1) The purchase or sale of property at a price substantially below fair market value with no reasonable explanation
(2) The purchase or sale of a motor vehicle when either the ignition or the steering wheel lock has been bypassed
(3) The purchase or sale of real property with documents citing the name of someone other than the seller with no reasonable explanation
If you or a loved one has been charged with Dealing in Stolen Property or a related offense, we can help. We will gladly meet with you in our office in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, or West Palm Beach. We serve clients all over Florida, with a focus in South Florida, including Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County. Call us now for your free consultation.