Breach of Fiduciary Duty Offenses in Florida
Under Florida law, a fiduciary duty exists when someone places trust or confidence in another regarding their financial affairs or a particular transaction. People who are trustees, personal representatives of estates, and guardians are all considered fiduciaries and thus are required to follow certain ethical and legal standards. A breach of fiduciary duty can arise when a fiduciary fails to follow those ethical and legal standards and in the process injures or damages the person for whom they served as fiduciary. Examples of a breach of fiduciary duty include:
- A guardian taking the assets of the person they have been entrusted to care for and using those assets for their own personal purposes;
- A personal representative overcompensating themselves in a probate case;
- A trustee or guardian making poor or improper investment choices; or
- A guardian or trustee intentionally taking or stealing the assets of the person for whom they are serving as guardian or trustee.
In many cases, if you breach a fiduciary duty, you will likely be subject to a civil lawsuit. However, under some circumstances, you can also be held criminally liable for a breach of fiduciary duty. For example, if you breach a fiduciary duty that you owe to a disabled adult or an elderly person as guardian or trustee for that person, and the breach is caused by the intentional mismanagement of the assets or funds of the disabled adult or elderly person, you can be charged with a felony offense. If the funds, property, or assets involved in the offense are valued at $50,000 or more, the offense is a felony in the first degree, where penalties can include up to thirty years in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000. If the funds, property or assets are valued at $10,000, but less than $50,000, the offense is a felony in the second degree where a conviction can result in up to fifteen years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Finally, if the funds, property, or assets are valued at less than $10,000, the offense is considered a felony in the third degree where penalties can include up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
It is also important to note, that if you do breach your obligations as a fiduciary, it is also possible to be criminally charged with theft or fraud offenses under Florida law. These offenses can be considered misdemeanors or felonies depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Contact an Experienced and Seasoned Florida Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorney Today!
If you have been designated as a fiduciary, whether as a trustee, guardian, personal representative, or someone else in a similar position of trust, and you have been accused of breaching your duty as a fiduciary, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable Florida Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorney as soon as possible. Not only can you possibly face a civil lawsuit for your alleged actions, but depending on the circumstances of your case, it is also possible that you will be criminally charged. The penalties associated with a breach of fiduciary duty, whether the alleged breach is associated with the care of an elderly person or disabled adult, or if you face separate theft or fraud charges, can be serious as a conviction can result in up to thirty years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. If you have been charged with a crime in association with a breach of fiduciary duty, call Beryl Thompson-McClary, J.D., today at 888-640-2999 for your free initial consultation and let a dedicated and experienced attorney help you in the fight to protect your legal rights.