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Jury adapts to rule changes during man's financial fraud trial

A North Carolina native has been convicted on charges of organized fraud during criminal proceedings in Florida. The man, age 65, was accused of defrauding investors in his company. He has been found guilty of allegations that he used corporate investments in his businesses to pay for personal expenses. The financial fraud allegations show that the man may have taken as much as $250,000 from two couples.

Authorities say that the man had solicited investments for three area companies. Financial regulators began investigating him after identifying inconsistencies in his earnings objectives and investment procedures. Ultimately, it appears that the man deposited investments into his personal checking account or that associated with another business. He then used those investments to pay taxes, write payroll checks and even purchase luxuries such as club memberships.

In this case, the man had been charged with six counts relating to financial fraud, including grand theft and money laundering. During the man's legal proceeding, the Florida Supreme Court promulgated additional jury instructions for trials related to organized fraud. As a result, the jury was forced to choose between convicting the man of the primary charge -- organized fraud, $50,000 or more -- or the set of lesser-included charges. The jury chose the organized fraud charge.

This situation was unusual because new jury instructions were handed down during the course of the man's criminal trial. A criminal defense attorney may be able to explain the implications of such massive overhauls. Further, lawyers may advocate for their clients, protecting their interests even as laws periodically change. Criminal defendants deserve to be indicted and tried for the correct crime using correct methods; an attorney may help preserve those courtroom rights.

Source: News-Leader, "Furman Clark guilty of fraud" Sian Perry, Apr. 10, 2014

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