Recently in Theft Crimes in Jacksonville Category

Man drives stolen van right by Jacksonville police and victim, is arrested after a chase

August 8, 2014

A Jacksonville man was arrested after he drove a stolen van in front of the victim who was talking with three police officers about the vehicle. Police then jumped in their cars after the driver and eventually arrested him, according to a report on News4Jax. The man is charged with several counts of dealing in stolen property and also charged with fleeing from police. The severity of the Jacksonville Theft Charges will be determined by the value of the property he is accused of stealing. Fleeing and eluding police is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison.

Nearly all Jacksonville Theft Charges are based solely on the value of the property the state can prove is stolen. There are certain enhanced charges if the property is taken from inside a home, from law enforcement or an emergency vehicle, but those factors are not in play in this Jacksonville Theft Case. For example, if a person is accused of stealing property with a value of less than $100, the charge is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail. If the value is between $100 and $300, the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail. In Jacksonville Theft Cases, the key number is really 300. Once the value of the property surpasses $300, the state can charge the crime as a third-degree felony. Then, the potential penalty goes up to five years in state prison. State prison comes into the picture only in Jacksonville Felony Cases. People cannot be sent to state prison on misdemeanor charges.

In this Jacksonville Theft Case, media reports have not mentioned any charges related to stealing the vehicle itself. Police could still be trying to determine whether the suspect was the one who took the vehicle or had knowledge that the vehicle was stolen. The way the steering column had been destroyed, it would have been difficult to not think it was stolen, but the van had been missing for weeks when it was discovered. The owner told the television station he was more concerned about the missing lawn equipment he uses for his business, so the state could be looking at a plea bargain for this suspect in exchange for information leading to the missing equipment - if that is possible. Unless this suspect is proven to have the equipment, or to have sold the equipment, it will be unlikely the state is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is responsible for stealing the van. Our Jacksonville Theft Crimes Attorney knows the specific elements needed to prove varying degrees of Jacksonville Theft Charges. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the charges against you or your loved one and lay out the case so you can make the best decision going forward.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

St. Johns County man facing felony theft charge, accused of stealing from Girl Scout cookie sales

Police arrested a St. Augustine man accused of stealing more than $400 from a Girl Scout troop that was wrapping up cookie sales outside of a local grocery store. The 22-year-old man was arrested after he was found in a shed behind his home, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When police found him, the suspect had marijuana and drug paraphernalia on him, the newspaper reported. He is now facing three charges - the most serious of which is grand theft, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. He is also charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both charges are first-degree misdemeanors with maximum penalties of up to one year in the county jail.

This St. Johns County Theft Case is a felony because of the amount the man is accused of stealing. The severity of charges in St. Johns County Theft Cases is always based on the value of the property that was allegedly taken. The threshold for a felony charge is $300. Between $100 and $300 would have been a misdemeanor petit theft charge, and the maximum penalty would have been the same as the two drug charges the man is now facing in county court. Police said the suspect was sitting on a bench outside the grocery store when the troop started packing up for the day and put all of the proceeds into one bag, the newspaper reported. The man walked up, took the bag, and left the area on a blue bicycle, the newspaper reported. Police found the bicycle, which belonged to someone else, but learned someone borrowed it at the grocery store, the newspaper reported. The Girl Scout leader identified a picture of the person who borrowed the bike as the person who took the bag of money. Police went to his home, as that's where they say they found him in a shed with marijuana.

This is a St. Johns County Theft Case where the punishment may be more than normal, simply because of the facts of the case. Rarely do cases of people taking $400 make headlines in the local media. But this one has been news for days because the money was taken from a group of Girl Scouts trying to raise money by selling cookies. If the case can be proven and the man is either convicted or chooses to plead guilty in this St. Johns County Theft Case, this will be an element the defendant will have to answer to. Not all St. Johns County Theft Cases are treated equally and those that victimize vulnerable or sympathetic figures, such as children, seniors or charitable groups, tend to garner stiffer penalties. Our St. Johns County Theft Attorney represents people accused of all levels of theft - from misdemeanor charges on up to serious felonies.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Three teens charged with beating, kidnapping and robbing man getting into his car in Jacksonville Beach

April 23, 2014

Two 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old girl were arrested this month, accused of beating and carjacking a Jacksonville man and trying to force him to withdraw money from his bank account. The man escaped by running into a Wal-Mart store where the teens planned to use his card inside the store, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man told police as he was getting into his car, three teens pulled him out of the car and punched him in the face repeatedly, the newspaper reported. The teens then stole his watch, wallet and phone, and threw him in the back off the car, threatening to kill him if he tried to escape, the newspaper reported. After two attempts to get money from the man's bank account failed, the teens drove to the Wal-Mart and the 30-year-old alleged victim took off running into the store, the newspaper reported. The teens took off in the car and the man called police.

Police found the car a couple of days later being towed from a private lot and tracked the teens down using surveillance footage from various Wal-Marts and gas stations where the debit card was used, the newspaper reported. The teens were charged with kidnapping, carjacking, strong-armed robbery and fraudulently using the man's ATM card, the newspaper reported. All four Jacksonville Violent Crime charges are felonies and the total prison time exposure could essentially be a life sentence - even for teens. The key in this case is whether the state will charge any or all of the three as adults, or treat these as Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Cases. It will be an interesting and closely scrutinized decision. The violent nature of the crimes is exactly where prosecutors in Clay County, Duval County and Nassau County have been choosing to treat the teens as adults and bring the cases through adult court. But, the defendants are particularly young in this case - with two 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old girl facing serious felony charges in this Jacksonville Violent Crimes Case.

If the state decides to pursue the cases in juvenile court, there are five levels of incarceration, from essentially house arrest on up to what amounts to a prison for teens. The court system in Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes cases is meant to punish teens for their crimes, but also take into consideration that they are not adults and do not have the critical decision-making skills that adults have. Crimes like these would likely lead to something close to a life sentence for an adult, if all charges could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down life sentences for juveniles not convicted of murder, so that would not be an option in this case. But a lengthy prison sentence could be on the table, so it will be interesting to see if these cases end up in adult or juvenile court.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

St. Johns County police sergeant arrested after being accused of lying on time sheets

April 12, 2014

A St. Johns County police sergeant was fired and arrested, charged with a felony after his supervisors say he was stealing money by claiming to be in two places at the same time. The sergeant was arrested after an internal investigation found he was charging for working for the sheriff's office and for an off-duty job on the same days, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He was charged with organizing a scheme to defraud of less than $20,000 and with two counts of filing false documents as a public official. All three charges are third-degree felonies in this St. Johns County Theft Case with maximum penalties of five years in state prison on each count. It's unlikely in a case like this, but the now former sergeant could be facing up to 15 years in prison if the judge chose to run the sentences consecutively.

The sergeant had been with the department for 16 years, the newspaper reported. He was accused of patrolling a neighborhood on-duty and also being paid for patrolling at the same time in an off-duty capacity, the newspaper reported. An audit of time sheets confirmed what police called a "classic case of double-dipping," in this St. Johns County Theft Case, the newspaper reported. Not only would the officer be putting his career and his retirement on the line - public officials in Florida convicted of felonies in connection with their employment can have their pension revoked - the sheriff's office could have some problems with potential cases where this officer is a witness.

If a witness in a trial has even been convicted of a crime of dishonestly, you can bet that a St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will bring it up at trial. Those crimes include fraud, theft, filing false documents - pretty much any crime involved with lying or stealing. If a witness has, it seriously damages his or her credibility. That rings even more true if that witness is a former police officer fired for a crime of dishonesty. Chances are, the state would not being calling him as a witness anymore, but you can bet a St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney would do so if that former sergeant was in any way, shape or form associated with a case. When police officers are involved in crimes, it does more than just alter their lives. It causes prosecutors and defense attorneys to take a close look at those cases and perhaps reevaluate strategy in terms of pursing or fighting the charges. An experienced St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly examine all of the facts or your case, and the witnesses who will be used against you, and use everything at their disposal to defend you or your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jacksonville man convicted of robbing a McDonald's from the drive-thru window

March 22, 2014

A Jacksonville man faces life in prison after a jury found him guilty of armed robbery and several other counts in connection with a robbery of a local fast-food restaurant in 2012. Police said the man approached the closed McDonald's at drive-thru window and asked employees to let him inside, according to a report from News4Jax. When the employee told him no, the man pointed a gun at him and demanded all of the money in the register, the television station reported. The suspect then fired a shot into the window, reached through the glass, took the money and ran away, the television station reported.

Police found him that evening, with the gun used in the robbery and $700 cash in his pocket, the television station reported. The man was charged with several Duval County felonies, the biggest being armed robbery. He was also charged with armed possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana which is also a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The same marijuana charge without a gun is a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The armed robbery charge, though, is the most severe, and the one for which he could face a life sentence. Often times the two words are used interchangeably, but there is a huge difference between burglary and robbery in Jacksonville Theft Cases. A burglary is taking something from a home or a car without a confrontation. Robbery is taking something directly from a person, with violence or the threat of violence. For example, a Jacksonville Theft Case is a burglary when someone breaks into a car and takes a cell phone, or even just opens an unlocked car door and takes things from the vehicle. Burglary is a third-degree felony - unless the home or vehicle is occupied, even if the suspect doesn't know people are there. Then it becomes a second-degree felony. The basic point in the felony degrees is, the more directly the crime relates to threatening or injuring a person, the more severe the crime and the punishment.

In this Jacksonville Robbery Case, the suspect was convicted of firing a gun, which brings the life sentence into play. The life sentence is not automatic, as it is in a first-degree murder case and in some Jacksonville Sex Crimes Cases, but it's certainly a possibility, given the facts of the case. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney is experienced in all types of Jacksonville Theft Cases - from misdemeanor petit theft cases on up to burglary and armed robbery.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Jacksonville police officer arrested, accused of stealing supplement from gym

A Jacksonville police officer is now facing charges himself after detectives say he stole a $49 supplement from a local gym. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office officials announced the arrest last month, saying the officer was removed from the street while the investigation was being conducted, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Surveillance video from the gym allegedly shows the officer with a bottle in his hand, ducking behind the counter and then coming back into view with nothing in his hand, the newspaper reported. The officer says he told the clerk to put the cream supplement on his account and was not trying to steal anything, the newspaper reported.

The officer in this Jacksonville Theft Case will likely be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor charge of petit theft, punishable by up to 60 days in the county jail and a $500 fine. The severity of the charge and possible punishment Jacksonville Theft Cases is determined by the value of the property the person is accused of stealing. In this Jacksonville Theft Case, the officer would be facing the least serious charge possible. People accused of theft of less than $100 can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. When the value is between $100 and $300, the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor and the penalty goes up to a maximum of one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.

The $300 threshold is really the key in Jacksonville Theft Cases. Once the value tops $300, the charge becomes a felony. Grand Theft in Jacksonville is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. There are other caveats that can increase the penalty, including if the property is taken from an emergency vehicle, but the main number to know is $300. Charges in Jacksonville Theft Cases can also increase based on the person's criminal record. If someone has one petit theft conviction on his or her record, the charge is automatically a first-degree misdemeanor - even if the property in the Jacksonville Theft Case is worth less than $100. And if the person has two or more convictions, the case becomes a felony - again, regardless of the amount. In many Jacksonville Theft Cases, first-time offenders may be offered a diversionary program, where if they meet certain conditions and pay back the value of the property, the charges may be dropped. Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney can help negotiate a disposition that is hopefully favorable, and something you or your loved one can live with, complete and move on from.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Former Clay County schools bookkeeper faces multiple felony theft charges

February 25, 2014

A former bookkeeper with Clay County schools was arrested last week, charged with several felonies and accused of stealing $57,000 from the school district. The bookkeeper resigned last year while she was being investigated and said she did not intentionally take any money, instead pointing to poor paperwork and recordkeeping, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Law enforcement sees it differently and the state charged her last week with grand theft, uttering a forged instrument and running a scheme to defraud.

The multiple charges come in because of the manner in which these Clay County Theft Crimes were allegedly committed. For example, police say the woman forged receipts and paperwork that made it look like she paid for school expenses with her own money, though in reality she use a school credit card, the newspaper reported. That likely led to the charge of uttering a forged instrument, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. In Clay County Theft Cases, the uttering charge that is always a third-degree felony is more the exception than the rule. In most all other Clay County theft cases, the charge and the potential penalty are based on the value of the property the suspect is accused of stealing. Theft itself can be a misdemeanor or run all the way up to a first-degree felony.

The same escalating scale applies in the scheme to defraud charge the woman is also facing in this Clay County Theft Case. According to Florida law a scheme to defraud is" a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act." Because she is accused of taking $57,000, she can be charged with a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. She narrowly exceeded the threshold - anything from $20,000 to $50,000 is a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. A scheme to defraud that the state says netted less than $20,000 is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The scheme to defraud charge in a Clay County Theft Case is often used to bring several charges under one umbrella. Similar charges were filed earlier this year against a Clay County Clerk of Courts employee accused of stealing and pawning computer equipment. Our Clay County Theft Attorney is experienced in all types of theft cases and has represented people facing a variety of theft charges.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

State files new charges against former Clay County employee accused of stealing electronics

January 27, 2014

After his initial dismissal and arrest on theft charges, police implied there may be more charges filed against a former Clay County information technology director accused of stealing and pawning county property. Those charges came this month in his Clay County Theft Case, with prosecutors filing an all-compassing charge with major ramifications, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The charge brings at least 80 confirmed cases against Michael Hamilton under one umbrella, the newspaper reported. Hamilton was arrested in December on three felony charges.

This time, Hamilton is charged with running a scheme to defraud. As with all Clay County Theft Cases, the felony degree and, subsequently, the maximum prison time, is determined by the value of the property involved in the alleged scheme. In this Clay County Theft Case, Hamilton comes in at the very top of the scale. He is charged with a scheme to defraud more than $50,000, a first-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in state prison. According to state statutes, a scheme to defraud is "a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act."

Police say dozens of computers and other electronic equipment were stolen, pawned and then traced back to Hamilton, the newspaper reported. Police have tracked down about 60 percent of the items and about $15,000 in equipment is still unaccounted for, the newspaper reported. There are two tracks the state can take in a Clay County Theft Case such as this. Prosecutors can stack all of the cases up together and charge Hamilton with dozens of theft and dealing in stolen property charges, the most serious of which is a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies have a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, so if Hamilton was found guilty of several of them, his maximum sentence could be well into the triple digits. But judges are often more likely to let defendants serve sentences concurrently, meaning if he received 15 years on 20 different counts, he would likely just serve the 15 years and be done. Now, the maximum will be 30 years and the state will have laid out its entire case, showing the sheer volume it alleges Hamilton stole. The state often holds back a couple of theft charges it can try individually, a sort of insurance policy if something happens with the larger case. Our Clay County Theft Attorneys represent people accused of all levels of theft - from misdemeanors with something worth less than $100 to first-degree felonies that Hamilton is now facing.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Former Clay County information technology director accused of stealing county property

December 23, 2013

A former director with the Clay County Clerk of Courts is now facing charges, accused of stealing county equipment and selling it a local pawns shop. Michael Hamilton was arrested this month on three felony charges, shortly after he was fired for suspicion of misconduct, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. More charges could be coming, as he is a suspect in the disappearance of dozens of computers and other electronic equipment over the past few months, the newspaper reported.

For now in this Clay County Theft Case, Hamilton is charged with grand theft, dealing in stolen property and false verification of ownership. Grand theft is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison; dealing in stolen property is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison; and false verification of ownership will also be a second-degree felony in this Clay County theft case. The punishment and felony degree in Clay County Theft Cases is mostly determined by the value of the property that the defendant is accused of stealing. This Clay County Theft Case falls between might seem to be thresholds on the false verification of ownership. It's a third-degree felony if the property is values at less than $300, but at more than $300 it crosses into a second-degree felony. The firewall system Hamilton is accused of stealing in this Clay County Theft Case is valued at $2,000, but he only received $200 for it at the pawn shop, the newspaper reported. The pawnbroker value does not determine the actual value when it comes to criminal charges.

There are often two paths police can take when they think someone is a part of a larger crime scheme, as Hamilton is suspected of in this Clay County Theft Case. They can wait until they have all of the pieces lined up and then make the arrest, or they can pounce on the first thing they find and try to piece the rest together before the case resolves. It appears they have gone for the latter in this Clay County Theft Case. Police may be telling him they will recommend leniency with the court if he confesses to all he took and they wrap up the investigation. If Hamilton chooses not to talk to police, which is his right, the case may be in the system longer, and could result in several more charges if police can prove it was Hamilton behind the rest of the stolen property in this Clay County Theft Case. In a case like this when a defendant knows there is a bigger investigation ongoing, a Clay County Theft Attorney can help sort through the case - and be there when the suspect speaks to police, if he or she decides to do so.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office unaware a convicted felon was working at the jail

December 20, 2013

A man who was working as a correction officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was arrested this month, accused of stealing identities of inmates and filing false tax returns under their names. Harold Walbey has pleaded not guilty to a variety of tax and identity theft charges in federal court and faces up to 57 years in prison, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He is accused of filing $257,000 is fake tax returns and making more than $100,000 through the operation, the newspaper reported. An interesting twist in Walbey's Jacksonville Felony Crimes case came shortly after his arrest, when the newspaper - not the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office - discovered that Walbey had been convicted of a felony in 2001 while working for the sheriff's office and that his employer did not know.

Walbey started with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in 1990, resigned, and returned to the agency in 1992, the newspaper reported. In 2001, while working for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, he was charged with child abuse in Washington County, a rural county in the Florida Panhandle, the newspaper reported. Walbey pleaded guilty in 2002 and was sentenced to a year of probation, the newspaper reported. According to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office policy, Walbey could have faced discipline - even termination - for a felony arrest, let alone a felony conviction. Officers are supposed to report any arrest to their employer within 24 hours, but Walbey did not do so, the newspaper reported. Fast forward to 2013. Walbey retires in February and is collecting a city pension, the newspaper reported. Months later, he is arrested on these latest Jacksonville Felony Crimes charges and it comes to light the sheriff's office has had a convicted felon working with inmates for more than 10 years. It is extremely rare that a law enforcement agency would hire a convicted felon, and most departments have strict policies against the practice.

Now, Walbey runs the risk of losing his city pension for his latest Jacksonville Felony Crimes case. If a person is convicted of a felony that involves gaining a profit through use of his or her official powers, the pension can be revoked. That would be up for debate in this case. It's cut and dried if Walbey paid inmates for their information, but if he just stole them from a computer system, that could be more of a gray area. But the point some are making is valid - if police would have known a little more about Walbey in 2001, he may have been fired at the time and this conversation about his Jacksonville Felony Case and his pension would not be taking place. Jacksonville Felony Crimes convictions not only have serious implications in terms of a person's freedom, but can be a huge factor in someone keeping a job or being able to find employment in the future. Our Jacksonville Felony Crimes Attorney can explain your options and help you or your loved one make an informed decision going forward.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Felony Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police say Jacksonville mailman made up story about sick girlfriend, received thousands from people on his route

December 16, 2013

A Jacksonville mail carrier could face decades behind bars, accused of lying to residents on his mail route and talking them into giving him more than $33,000 over the last four years. Gregory Niebel allegedly repeatedly asked for money from residents for his girlfriend's medications and told the people he'd be paying them back when she received a large settlement from a lawsuit, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. But a U.S. Postal Service investigation found Niebel's girlfriend was not sick, but healthy in Brevard County and using the money for living expenses because Niebel told her he didn't want her to have to work, the newspaper reported.

The key to the Jacksonville Theft Case against Niebel is the fact that he allegedly told the residents the payment were loans and that he would be paying them back. The scheme to defraud charge would still be there for asking for money under false pretenses, but theft is more difficult to prove if a person does not have any expectation of getting the money or items returned. The resident who prompted the investigation gave Niebel close to $20,000, and nine others gave between a few dollars and into the thousands, the newspaper reported. He's facing nine different charges in this Jacksonville Theft Case, the most serious being operating a scheme to defraud, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The remaining eight charges are Jacksonville theft charges and range from second-degree misdemeanors on up to third-degree felonies with a maximum sentence of five years in prison on each count. In all, Niebel could be sentenced to upwards of 35 years behind bars in these Jacksonville Theft Cases.

In Jacksonville Theft Cases, the degree of the charges - and the range of punishment - is determined by the value of the property a defendant is accused of stealing. For example, three of the charges Niebel is facing are second-degree misdemeanors, punishable by no more than six months in the county jail. That charge is petit theft of property worth less than $100. The charge becomes a first degree misdemeanor if the amount is between $100 and $300 and carries a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail. When the value reaches $300, that's when the Jacksonville Theft Case becomes a third-degree felony and puts time in state prison on the table. The charge remains a third-degree felony until more than $20,000 is stolen. Charges are also based on individual incidents, not the entire operation. So if Niebel, for example is accused of taking $350 from one person and $500 from another, he'd be facing two felonies, even though both would be part of the same overall scheme. In many Duval County Theft Cases, the state may offer a sentence far below the maximum penalty as long as the defendant agrees to pay the money back, depending on the severity of the crime and if the victims agree to that type of sentence.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Man arrested for armed robbery while returning $3 loan to Clay County gas station clerk

December 13, 2013

A man who came back to a Clay County gas station to pay off a $3 debt ended up handing himself to police for an arrest on an armed robbery charge. A gas station clerk was telling a police officer about her "good deed" by loaning a man in an old truck $3 for gas and that he even left his wallet for collateral, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. As the woman described the man, the officer realized the description was similar to that of a man accused of robbing a local sandwich shop the night before, the newspaper reported. When Brian Jeffers returned to the store to pay off his debt an hour later, police were waiting for him and arrested him for armed robbery in this Clay County Theft Case, the newspaper reported.

Jeffers is facing up to life in prison on the armed robbery charge, which is a first-degree felony. In this Clay County Theft Case, Jeffers is accused of walking into the restaurant and keeping his hand in his coat pocket like he was carrying a gun, then demanding cash and coming around the counter to grab about $200, the newspaper reported. It is not clear from the newspaper report whether or not Jeffers had a gun during the robbery, though, according to Florida law, it does not matter in terms of his charges. A person can be charged with armed robbery by threatening to use a weapon, as long as it would be reasonable for the victim to assume that the suspect had a gun. If someone points his or her finger inside a coat pocket insinuating he or she is armed, that can qualify as an armed robbery. The charge often applies in bank robbery cases if a person passes a note indicating he or she has a gun and is demanding money.

The same is true if a person uses a toy gun or an air gun in a robbery. The Clay County Theft Case becomes an armed robbery if the victim is reasonable in thinking the gun is real, and the fact that it is not in fact a deadly weapon does not matter. Armed is in the eye of the alleged victim in Clay County Theft Cases, whether a person has an actual gun or not - though there are plenty of arguments a Clay County Theft Attorney can make to try to have the crime reduced to a robbery, which has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Our Clay County Theft Attorney has represented hundreds of people charged with various theft crimes and is experienced in the elements the state must prove to qualify a robbery as an armed robbery.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jacksonville police arrest wrong man in theft case, he's finally released after nine months in jail

December 4, 2013

A Jacksonville man spent nine months in jail for a robbery he didn't commit, and it took those nine months for prosecutors to pay enough attention to the case to figure it out and release him from jail. Joshua Angel was arrested in September 2012, the night two men robbed a man in a wheelchair of $20 using a toy gun, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Angel was charged with robbery in Jacksonville and, because he has a criminal record, the state was planning to charge him as a habitual offender, exposing him to 30 years in prison, the newspaper reported.

This Jacksonville Theft Case is a perfect example of why eyewitness testimony in Jacksonville Criminal Defense Cases is inherently flawed, as is the way it is often obtained by police. In this case, the victim called police immediately after the robbery at a gas station that ended in him being knocked from his wheelchair and gave police a description of the two suspects, including their approximate ages, clothing and any tattoos they had, the newspaper reported. Police canvassed the area and found Angel at a different gas station nearby and pulled him out of a group of people, even though he was eight inches taller than the description, had exponentially more tattoos and slightly similar clothing, the newspaper reported. Officers then told the victim they found someone matching the description, showed him the side of Angel's face and the victim, who was not wearing his prescribed eye glasses, told police he was the guy and Angel was arrested.

Angel was furious with police and proclaimed his innocence, but he was still arrested in Duval County and, most likely, his record didn't do him any favors. Police had what they needed. But the way the identification was conducted has some questioning the tactic and it's a common criticism in Jacksonville Criminal Defense Cases. By bringing the person there and saying he matches the description, police are inherently suggesting they think they have the guy. And it takes a lot for a victim, especially one who is probably shaken up and angry an hour after being robbed, to tell the police they are wrong. Study after study consistently shows the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. Two people can see the exact same thing and describe it differently, especially in the heat of the moment. Other evidence in the case also pointed away from Angel. Most notably, the victim ended up with the toy gun that was used and, when it was tested for fingerprints, there were no ties to Angel. Angel's attorneys had to hire a an expert to examine the surveillance video to prove that it wasn't Angel for prosecutors to even look at the case - something that should be done before criminal charges are filed. Angel was eventually released in June, but he had to prove his innocence to get out. So much for innocent until proven guilty in this Jacksonville Criminal Defense Case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Former forensic investigator gets 90 days in jail for stealing jewelry from dead bodies

December 2, 2013

A Jacksonville man facing decades in prison for stealing and then pawning jewelry he removed from dead bodies was sentenced to 90 days in county jail. Christopher Allen was forensic investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office and faced five felony charges after an investigation pinned him as the person responsible for missing jewelry, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The most serious was one of two dealing in stolen property charges, which was charged as a first-degree felony, and can be when a person is the one organizing and plans the thefts and the sale of the property. In Allen's Jacksonville Theft Case, he was accused of acting alone so that charge would fit. As a first-degree felony, Allen faced up to 30 years in state prison on that charge alone and a total of 60 years with all five counts.

It's unclear from the newspaper report just how much jewelry Allen was accused of taking from the bodies in this Jacksonville Theft Case, but records showed he pawned 62 pieces of jewelry in a year's time, the newspaper reported. In all, he was charged with official misconduct, two counts of dealing in stolen property (one being the more serious organized stolen property) and two counts of giving false verification of ownership of pawned items. Allen and prosecutors negotiated an agreement where he would plead guilty to official misconduct and organized dealing in stolen property, allowing the remaining charges in his Jacksonville Theft Case to be dropped. Allen received 90 days in jail, but will be out this month because he was already in jail for 74 days since his arrest, unable to post bond.

The newspaper report depicts Allen as a hardworking law enforcement officer who fell on tough financial times and made some poor decisions to try to get out. His past undoubtedly played a role in a comparatively light sentence in this Jacksonville Theft Case. This appears to be the first time Allen, 48, has ever been arrested. He will have to forfeit his law enforcement powers, pay more than $1,000 in restitution, another $600 in court costs and serve three years of probation. But when you're looking at up to 60 years in prison for a Jacksonville Theft Case, especially one that tends to anger people as much as stealing from dead bodies at a morgue, that's a very favorable disposition. When it comes to sentencing or negotiation in Jacksonville Criminal Defense Cases, a defendant's criminal history is a huge factor. Sentencing guidelines are based on the current charges and a person's record - if he or she has one. You generally only get one crack at a deal like the one in this Jacksonville Theft Case, but it's an opportunity for people to turn things around and become productive members of society, instead of sitting in prison.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Man charged in Clay County burglary for taking items from a car while owner had his back turned

November 18, 2013

Police arrested a man accused of taking a wallet and cellphone out of a car while the driver was renting a movie from an outdoor kiosk. Christopher Tate turned himself in after seeing his picture on the news in connection with the crime, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Tate is now charged with Florida burglary from an unoccupied structure and grand theft. Both charges are third degree felonies, punishable by up to five years in state prison, so Tate could be looking at up to 10 years in prison.

In Clay County Theft Cases, taking something valued at less than $300 is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than a year in the county jail. The crime becomes a felony at $300 and then exposes the defendant to up to five years in state prison. In this Clay County Theft Case, the phone Tate is accused of taking was valued at $600, which made the case a felony. The other charge Tate is facing in this Clay County Theft Case is burglary. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there's an important distinction to be made in between a robbery and burglary in Clay County Theft Cases. A burglary is taking something from a building or a car. In most Clay County Theft Cases, burglary is a third-degree felony. It can become a second-degree felony if the suspect is accused of going into a home with people inside, or if the person has a weapon on his or her person.

A robbery is a Clay County Theft Crime where someone is accused of taking something directly from another person by using or threatening violence to force the victim to hand over the money or other property. Robbery is viewed much more seriously by the court in Clay County Theft Cases. At the bare minimum, robbery is a second-degree felony. If the defendant has a weapon, the crime is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. If the defendant is accused of showing the weapon in the course of the robbery, he or she could be sentenced to up to life in state prison. Burglaries and robberies are both serious Clay County Theft Crimes, but they are not treated equally by the court system. Our Clay County Theft Attorney is experienced in defending both types of crimes and will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.