Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty to Grand Theft Over Brake Job

The Florida Times-Union recently reported about a Jacksonville man who pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft while he faces charges of bilking investors out of more than $100,000 in a fake investment scheme.

Theft charges in Jacksonville can range from something as simple as stealing a pack of gum from a convenience store to a serious offense such as home invasion robbery, where a person breaks into a house that is occupied and, while armed, demands money and possessions. And as the details of these crimes vary, so do the punishment. The range is jail or probation to years or decades in prison. That’s why consulting immediately with an experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney is so important.
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The 34-year-old Jacksonville man pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft and he was sentenced to 175 days in jail — credit for the 175 days in jail he has already served. He remains in custody, however, because of other pending charges.

In this case, the man allegedly stiffed a car repair shop on a $9,300 brake job, asking for the repairs and then driving off the lot after the vehicle had been fixed. The second grand theft charge stems from him taking a store for $700 on new tires on a different vehicle.

He was arrested last month on charges that he bilked eight people out of $100,000 in a fraudulent investment scheme. In that case, he is accused of luring alleged victims into giving him money by wowing them with luxury cars he drove, including a 2007 Bentley — the subject of the brake job.

He allegedly told investors he was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a high-dollar broker with connections to financial institutions. He also allegedly got a woman to send him $10,000 while he was in the Duval County jail through a three-way phone conversation with a co-defendant. He remains in custody on $1 million bail on those charges.

Grand theft charges depend on the amount stolen, which determines what degree felony a person can face. For instance, stealing a gun, property up to $20,000, a fire extinguisher, stop sign or other specific pieces of property as defined in Florida Statutes 812.014 is grand theft of the third-degree. That is punishable by up to five years in a state prison.

If the property stolen is valued at $20,000 to $100,000, cargo shipped between states or in the state, emergency medical equipment or law enforcement equipment, it is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.

If the property stolen values more than $100,000, is a semitrailer deployed by a law enforcement officer, is more than $50,000 of cargo shipped as business or if a motor vehicle is used as other than a getaway vehicle, it is a first-degree felony, which is punishable by 30 years to life.

And as is common in cases of theft and grand theft, suspects typically face more than one charge. Police and prosecutors like to file a charge per item stolen and they can threaten that every charge will be sentenced one after the other. So, four third-degree grand theft charges could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

While that is true, it’s not necessarily the case all the time. An aggressive Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will fight to break up the evidence lodged against the suspect, including police reports, eye witness accounts and even the alleged “value” of the property taken. All aspects of a case can be challenged.

If you or a loved one requires a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call Mussallem and Associates, PA today at 904-365-5200 for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

Jacksonville man convicted of stiffing Midas on $9,300 brake job, by Jim Schoettler, The Florida Times-Union