Help from a Grand Theft Defense Attorney
This case illustrates the attempted use of criminal punishment to gain advantage in business disputes. Depending upon your point of view, the practice of using criminal arrests in the context of a civil dispute is odious and detestable, a legal form of extortion. “Victims” like the idea of using the police as a collection agent to avoid having to hire lawyers and incur other expenses.
H.C. (not his real initials) was in the business of buying, selling and brokering laser devices used for medical purposes. Depending upon the type of laser device, its age and intended purpose, the prices would generally range from $10,000 – $125,000 each. Commonly, the devices would be purchased in one state for sale to a customer in another state. H.C. and his company were based in the State of Texas. Therefore, these business transactions truly involved interstate commerce.
These devices might be offered for sale by a doctor or medical group, or even by a finance company or bank. The devices could be sold at auction or purchased from a bankruptcy trustee. H.C. would sometimes buy the devices for his own company for resale at a profit. At other times, he would act as a broker, taking a percentage of the price as his fee.
As in any complicated transaction, there are many opportunities for the parties to disagree. Most of these laser devices were used. Although the specifications, age and other information about a machine would generally be available, the purchaser might not always be happy with the device purchased – even though the devices would be purchased at huge discounts compared to the list prices of new machines. Into this scenario walks the clumsy club of law enforcement.
In this case, there were disputes regarding the availability of a specific laser device from a state other than Texas or Florida. H.C. believed that the device could be purchased at a specific price from a reliable source. As it turned out, the source was unreliable, and the specific device was unavailable. The purchaser, a medical doctor in St. Lucie County, Florida, was predictably unhappy. The doctor wanted the device which was no longer available. Attempts to resolve these disputes broke down.
H.C. ‘s company tendered full repayment of the deposit to the doctor. However, the doctor refused to accept the check, because it was not in the form of a cashier’s check. The doctor then sought to employ law enforcement to prosecute the case, when she had already been tendered full repayment.
H.C. was without a clue that any criminal violations could or would be charged under this scenario. After all, his company had tendered full repayment of the deposit to the doctor, which was (from his point of view) inexplicably rejected.
H.C. was arrested on a “fugitive warrant” at his home in the middle of the night in a large Texas city. He was cast without bail into the local jail. He was treated as if he were a common criminal, because the warrant said that it was for second degree grand theft for more than $20,000, but less than $100,000.
At this point. H.C. ‘s wife was upset and angry. Her husband was in jail. She did not know what to do. She contacted Port Saint Lucie criminal attorney Jeffrey H. Garland, who she located via the internet.
Thankfully, H.C.’s wife had substantial knowledge about her husband’s business activities, bank accounts and could access his electronic devices for specific information. Attorney Garland was able to work with the wife to recover the contracts and correspondence with the doctor, including all e-mail. This information established the nature of the transaction and proved that H.C.’ s company had unconditionally tendered full payment of the doctor’s deposit.
With this information, Attorney Garland recommended that the wife retain a Texas attorney to secure bond. The wife did retain a skilled Texas lawyer who was successful in securing H.C. ‘s release on an extradition bond.
After being released from jail, H.C. provided further information regarding the communications between his company and the doctor. Detailed corroboration was obtained. Most importantly, H.C. provided proof that the doctor’s practice had purchased three lasers from H. C.’ s company in the past – all without incident. This information, together with ample evidence of H.C. ‘s extensive interstate business, demonstrated his company’s legitimacy and reliability as a resource for buying and selling medical lasers.
H.C. ‘s company had previously tendered a refund of the full $25,000 deposit. Proof of this was presented to surprised and bewildered law enforcement. At this point, a very bad situation was promptly resolved by the direct tender of a cashier’s check in the amount of $25,000 to the doctor.
Attorney Garland made sure to have his investigator ( a retired law enforcement officer) hand-deliver the cashier’s check to the doctor. Even then, the doctor failed to return calls to the State Attorney’s office in order to confirm receipt of payment. The grand theft warrant was promptly dismissed by the St. Lucie County State Attorney’s office upon proof that the cashier’s check had been delivered and negotiated.
Contact a Grand Theft Defense Attorney
Moral: H.C. was. and is, a legitimate businessman involved in the interstate commerce of medical lasers. Although he was released on bond by Texas authorities, he could not travel outside of Texas without risking arrest in any other state. Consequently, H.C. was faced with the prospect of not being able to do business for an indeterminate period of time or attempting to immediately resolve the case. The matter was ultimately resolved on the same terms that H. C.’ s company had attempted to resolve it much earlier, to-wit: by a refund of the entire $25,000 deposit.
Police are often outside their element when dealing with commercial transactions. In this case, the doctor omitted an important fact when she failed to disclose to police that H.C.’s company had tendered full and complete payment long before the police became involved. Thankfully, police were as cooperative as they could be, under the circumstances, when presented with incontrovertible proof of the ongoing business relationship between the parties and the unconditional attempt to refund the entire deposit.
Businessmen confronted with the misuse of police authority need to immediately seek the assistance of qualified counsel. In this case, the accused had to retain counsel in both the state where the criminal charge was made, and in the state where he was arrested. The long arm of the criminal law can reach from one State into another via a fugitive warrant.
The warrant was dismissed on July 26, 2010. The client never had to enter a Florida jail or appear in a Florida courtroom.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a similar offense and are in need of a grand theft defense attorney, contact The Law Office of Jeffrey Garland today at (772) 489-2200.