Providing a Fake ID or Fake Verification of Ownership of Property to a Pawnshop - Florida Statute 539.001
When people need to get a little extra cash to pay the rent or mortgage, they decide to pawn some of their stuff. They grab the item they want to pawn and head off to the pawnshop. After haggling with the shop employee, they agree on a price. The shop employee hands the person a form and says, “Fill it out.” Florida Statute 539.001 requires that anyone who pawns property be required to sign a statement that says the property is not stolen and the person is the rightful owner of the goods. Pawnshop forms also have places to put the seller’s right thumbprint and signature. The reasoning behind requiring pawnshops to have individuals who want to pawn items sign a statement that the property is not stolen is because many people think that they can sell stolen items at pawnshops and not get caught.
Another reason is that pawnshops have been “fences” for “boosters” to sell stolen property. Thieves (boosters) do not always want a TV, jewelry, power tools, etc. but they want cash. They will have a hard time trying to arrange deals to sell stolen “hot” property because the police will be actively looking for the property they are trying to sell. Undercover cops will be lurking on Craigslist and other areas trying to find the property. The thieves need the fences. The thieves sell to the fences who then sell the property through non-criminal business into the public. Since pawnshops have been used in the past to do this, Florida has laws trying to prevent this.
Even though Florida has cracked down on bad pawnshops, thieves still think that they can get away with selling stolen property at pawn shops. Pawnshops are required to have individuals fill out forms with their name, address, telephone number, place of employment, etc. Thieves have gotten wise to this and get fake ID’s to try and convince pawnshops they are someone else. Pawnshops do not want to receive stolen property because police will confiscate the stolen property. How do the police know the pawnshops have the stolen property? The pawnshops collect all of those forms that are required to be filled out and turn them over to the police.
What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict You of Providing a Fake ID or Fake Verification of Ownership of Property
The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You sold or pledged to a pawnshop;
- You knowingly falsely verified you owned the property on the form or you used a fake ID with the pawnshop; and
- You received money from the pawnshop for the property you sold or pledged.
The punishment depends on the amount of money that was given for the stolen property. If the amount was less than $300, the thief has committed a third-degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the amount of money is $300 or more, the crime is a second-degree felony which is punishable up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
When an individual fills out a form, he must give his right thumbprint. Pawnshops also have video surveillance and employees who can sometimes remember faces. All this is evidence that can be used to link people to other crimes. For example, one pawnshop owner received some jewelry that was later linked to a murdered victim who was wearing it. Another example is where some pawned silverware was linked to a home burglary. You can be prosecuted for the theft and previous crimes at the same time.
Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
These crimes can link individuals to other crimes. You will want to talk to an experienced attorney who can see all the chess pieces on the chess board. The facts surrounding the whole case can become very complex. Our attorneys focus on criminal matters for the South Florida area and know how to navigate the “landmines” in your path. Call today to schedule a 5 minute free consultation.