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False Information to Pawn Broker

Stolen property often ends of in a local pawn shop. For this reason, Florida Statute § 539.001(8)(b)8 makes it a crime to provide false verification of ownership or false information of identification to a pawn broker.

Under Florida’s Pawnbroking Act, the pawnbroker is required to obtain a form from anyone attempting to enter into the pawn transaction. The paperwork requires the person to verify that they own the item being pawned, that the item is not stolen, and that the item is not encumbered by any lien. The standardized pawnbroker form also requires the pledgor or seller to provide a thumbprint and signature to verify their identity.

The penalties depend, in part, on the value of the property presented to the pawnbroker. Related crimes including dealing in stolen property or the theft of the property taken to the pawn shop.

In many of these cases, the victim of a burglary or robbery finds their property at the pawnshop. The victim can also make a claim at the pawnshop to recover the property or file a replevin action in court.

Attorney for False Information to a Pawn Broker in Tampa, FL

If you are charged with the very serious criminal offense of providing false information to a pawn broker or on a pawn broker form under Florida Statute § 539.001(8)(b)8, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm.

Our main office is conveniently located in downtown Tampa, FL. Our second office is located in New Port Richey, across from the courthouse at the West Pasco Judicial Center.

Our attorneys represent clients on a variety of theft charges throughout Tampa and Hillsborough County, Florida. We also represent clients for theft related crimes in all of the surrounding counties throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including Brooksville in Hernando County, New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County, and Bartow in Polk County.

Call us for a free consultation on the phone or in the office today at (813) 250-0500.


Elements of Providing False Info to a Pawnbroker

The elements of the offense of providing false information to a pawn broker or on a pawn broker form under Florida Statute § 539.001(8)(b)8 include:

To prove the crime of False Verification of Ownership or False Identification to a Pawnbroker, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The Defendant sold or pledged good (as alleged in the charging document) to a to a pawnbroker.
  2. At the time, the Defendant knowingly gave:
    • false verification of ownership of the property alleged; or
    • false or altered identification to the pawnbroker.
  3. The Defendant received money from the pawnbroker for the property alleged that was sold or pledged.

See In re Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases–Report No. 2007-5, 982 So. 2d 1160 (Fla. 2008).


Punishments for Pawn Broker Crimes in Florida

The penalties for Giving False Information or Verification to a Pawnbroker depends on the value of the property presented during the transaction:

  • Under $300- if the property is valued at less than $300, the offense is a third degree felony, punishable with up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine; or
  • $300 or More- if the property is valued at $300 or more, the offense is a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Definitions for of a Pawnbroker

Under the statutory scheme for pawnshop crimes, the term “pawnbroker” is defined to include:

    • any person who is engaged in the business of making pawns;
    • who makes a public display containing the term “pawn,” “pawnbroker,” or “pawnshop” or any derivative thereof; or
    • who publicly displays a sign or symbol historically identified with pawns.

Under the statutory definition, a pawnbroker may also engage in the business of purchasing goods which includes consignment and trade.

Under Florida Statute Section 539.001, the term “pawn” is defined to mean any advancement of funds on the security of pledged goods on condition that the pledged goods are left in the possession of the pawnbroker for the duration of the pawn and may be redeemed by the pledgor on the terms and conditions contained in this section.


Pawnbroker Transaction Forms

Florida law requires the pawnbroker to maintain a copy of each completed pawnbroker transaction form for at least twelve months after the date of the transaction. At the end of each business day, the pawnbroker must deliver the original transaction forms for the previous business day to law enforcement.

If the original transaction form is lost or destroyed by a law enforcement official, the pawnbroker is permitted to use a copy of the form as evidence in court. When an electronic image of a pledgor or seller identification is accepted for a transaction, the pawnbroker must maintain the electronic image.

If a criminal investigation occurs, the pawnbroker shall, upon request, provide a clear and legible copy of the image to the appropriate law enforcement official.


Replevin Action Against a Pawnbroker

If the victim believes that the pawnbroker has obtained possession of or purchased property which was misappropriated, then the victim can file a claim to recover the property. Under Section 539.001(2)(f), F.S., the term “misappropriated” means stolen, embezzled, converted, or otherwise wrongfully appropriated against the will of the rightful owner.

In these cases, the victim must notify the pawnbroker by certified mail or in person of the claim to the goods. The notice must include the law enforcement report concerning the misappropriation of the goods. If the claim isn’t settled within 10 days of the notice, the claimant may file a lawsuit and must serve the pawnbroker with a copy of the petition.

If the court finds that the property was misappropriated, the claimant may recover the cost of the action, including attorney fees from the pawnbroker as provided in Section 539.001(15), F.S.

On the other hand, if the court finds that the claimant failed to comply with the above procedures, or finds against the claimant on any basis, the claimant is liable for the defendant’s costs, including attorney fees as provided in Section 539.001(15)(c), F.S.


Finding a Tampa Attorney for False Information to Pawn Broker Charges

If you are charged with theft or more serious charges of dealing in stolen property or providing false information to a pawn broker, then contact an experienced attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

We represent clients charged with providing false information to a pawn broker in Tampa in Hillsborough County, FL, and the surrounding areas of New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, and Clearwater and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, FL.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

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